Australians are being urged to put safety at the top of their list of things to do this summer, with wild weather forecast to cause havoc across the festive season.
Emergency services organisations are gearing up for a busy summer and are warning that people should have a plan in place in the event they are caught out by a natural disaster.
It comes as the Bureau of Meteorology released its long-range forecast for summer, stating it was likely to be wetter along coastal NSW, most of Victoria, South Australia, large parts of Queensland, as well as northern and eastern Tasmania.
NSW State Emergency Service Commissioner Carlene York said that with many roads flooded and properties isolated, it is important for people to take extra care while driving in flood-affected areas.
“Many of the rescues completed by our SES volunteers have unfortunately been for people caught in their vehicles by floodwater, so if you need to be on the road in these areas, please plan ahead and in the event you do come across a flooded road then stop, turn around and find another way,” Commissioner York said.
The bureau warned any significant rainfall could lead to flooding where rivers were already high, dams were full and catchments were wet.
“Above-average rainfall also increases the risk of landslides and tree falls in areas of steep terrain and very wet soils,” the bureau said.
But it’s not just the rain residents need to be aware of this summer, with Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Paul Baxter warning families need to remain vigilant regardless of how they spend their holidays.
“Whether it’s planning for any potential bushfire danger in your area or something as simple as putting up lights on your Christmas tree, please keep safety in mind,” Commissioner Baxter said.
NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Rob Rogers said the persistent rain has led to good grass and crop growth across NSW, especially in western parts of the State.
“As the warmer weather sets in, the landscape will dry out, increasing the risk of dangerous and fast-moving grass fires,” he said.
“So I am urging people to know your risk and familiarise yourself with the new Fire Danger Rating System which has been simplified into four levels – Moderate, High, Extreme and Catastrophic – with clear actions for each level.”
NSW Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke said the summer months are notorious for a heightened risk of severe storms.
“As we have seen repeatedly this year, natural disasters can affect anyone at any time, so the key safety tips of preparing a bush fire survival plan, not driving through floodwaters, swimming between the flags and making sure your home is fire-safe are just as important as ever,” Ms Cooke said.
“We want everyone to have a great summer season and the way to achieve this is to be prepared, know your risk and look out for each other.”
Overall, the weather bureau warns there is an increased risk this summer of:
- Prolonged heatwaves with higher humidity in southern areas;
- Above average tropical cyclones and tropical lows;
- Coastal flooding in the east and north; and
- Marine heatwaves.
Story Credit: news.com.au