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Surviving a cyclone

Surviving a cyclone

With the wet season approaching, the NT might once again bear the brunt of a cyclone.

Between November and April, tropical cyclones build over the warmer, tropical oceans north of Australia. The cyclones pick up power and move towards land, bringing with them torrential rain, tidal surges and destructive winds that can reach up to 280km/h.

While cyclones can be deadly and cause extensive property damage, meteorologists are able to identify when systems are forming off the coast, giving residents valuable time to prepare for the weather event.

How do I prepare my property?

There are a few measures you can take to prepare your property. Firstly, if you live in a cyclone-prone area, ask your local council if your house has been constructed according to the cyclone rating building code.

You’ll also want to maintain your property. The State Emergency Service (SES) suggests you do the following to minimise damage to your home during a cyclone:

  • Keep your gutters clear of debris and leaves;
  • Repair loose tiles and ensure roofing sheets are firmly fastened;
  • Trim trees and branches close to your home;
  • Fit shutters or metal screens to all external glass areas;
  • Secure large items such as garden sheds, boats, trailers and rainwater tanks.

You should also check if your insurance policy covers damage, power surges, flooding, tidal surges, and debris removal. Make sure your car and other vehicles, such as caravans, are adequately covered by insurance.

Do I stay or go?

You should have a plan for when there’s a cyclone approaching. Make sure your family recognises the standard emergency warning signal, which is broadcast via television and radio when a cyclone is less than 12 hours away.

Consider whether you’ll stay at home or go to a local cyclone emergency shelter. There are also community buildings capable of providing protection from winds up to 300km/h.

A list of shelter locations can be found at make sure you’re familiar with your nearest one.

If you’re leaving home, remember to switch off utilities like power, gas and water before you evacuate. If you do decide to stay, the safest place in your house to shelter depends on the cyclone rating of your property, and is usually a basement, bathroom or internal passageway.

What should I keep in my cyclone emergency kit?

It’s a good idea to put an emergency kit together, ready to go in the case of a cyclone.

It should include the following items:

  • a battery-operated radio and spare batteries;
  • a torch, candles and waterproof matches;
  • a first-aid kit and any essential medicines;
  • a change of clothes;
  • blankets and sleeping bags;
  • essential toiletries, including sunscreen;
  • money, including change for phone calls;
  • documents like birth and marriage certificates, driver’s licence,
  • passport and insurance policies;
  • strong and sealable plastic bags;
  • a mobile phone and charger;
  • extra car and house keys;
  • pet supplies;
  • non-perishable foods;
  • 10 litres of bottled water per person;
  • a portable cooker and cooking equipment.

For information about AANT insurance, speak to a consultant on 8925 5901 or visit

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