The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) is urging Western Australians to prepare now for storm season, with the Bureau of Meteorology advising that the first severe cold front of the season could hit parts of the State as early as next week.
Every year from May to October, storms including tornadoes, lightning, hail, flash flooding and gale force winds cause significant damage across the southern half of WA, with the State Emergency Service receiving more than 2000 requests for assistance during the last two winters.
Common damage reported includes heavy tree branches falling on cars, water damage from blocked gutters and strong winds picking up items as large as trampolines and hurling them through windows, doors and garages.
The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a cold front is expected to reach western parts of the State during the middle of next week and may bring wet and windy conditions to all but the northeast of WA.
Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM said preparation was the first line of defence against unpredictable weather and could help the public avoid expensive repairs to their homes.
“While most of the State is still experiencing sunny and mild weather, now is the window of opportunity to prepare before the full force of storm season hits,” he said.
“We often see the most significant storm damage occurring in May, as people typically wait until the weather starts to turn before starting to prepare their homes for severe weather.
“DFES is encouraging people to start that work now – not only could it save you a significant amount of money by avoiding damage to your home, and avoid delays in building and supply shortages, it could help relieve the pressure on SES volunteers who respond to calls for help during the winter months.
“I urge all Western Australians to prepare their homes by clearing debris, tying down loose items, cleaning gutters and trimming any overhanging tree branches.”
The Bureau's WA Manager James Ashley said the southwest of WA typically sees four to six cold fronts each month through the cool season (April to October), with around one to two severe cold fronts each month.
“Southwest WA, which includes the metropolitan area, could see the first severe cold front of the season as early as next week, which is a timely reminder for all of us to follow the advice of local emergency services before, during and after severe weather,” Mr Ashley said.
"Severe cold fronts can bring a variety of extreme weather conditions including dangerous wind gusts, flooding, high tides and dangerous surf conditions.
“The Southwest of WA also sees five tornadoes with passing fronts each year on average, including two typically impacting the Perth metropolitan area.”
If your home is badly damaged by a storm and you cannot safely fix it yourself, you can call the SES for emergency assistance on 132 500.
Stay up-to-date with severe weather warnings by checking www.emergency.wa.gov.au, calling 13 DFES, following DFES on social media and listening to local radio broadcasts.
DFES Media and Corporate Communications 9395 9543
Bureau of Meteorology Media and Communications WA 9263 2201