Cyclone Awareness, Preparation and Response

What to do before, during and after a tropical cyclone.

What is a cyclone?

A cyclone is a violent storm characterised by strong winds rotating around a calm center. It can produce destructive winds and bring heavy rain causing flooding and, in some events, cause a storm surge (i.e. a rapid rise in sea level).

What causes a cyclone?

Sea surface temperature rise above 26.5°, to a depth of a few hundred meters

A cluster of thunderstorms develops and grows in an increasingly unstable atmosphere

Cluster grows and gains rotation from the spin of the planet, forming a cyclone

When winds are steady at all levels of the atmosphere, they steer the cyclone and allow it to grow

Cyclone Categories


Tropical Cyclone

  •   Negligible house damage
  •   Craft may drag moorings


Tropical Cyclone

  •   Minor house damage, with significant damage to signs, trees and caravans
  •   Risk of power failure and small craft may break moorings


Severe Tropical Cyclone

  •   Some roof and structural damage
  •   Some caravans destroyed
  •   Power failures likely


Severe Tropical Cyclone

  •   Significant roofing loss and structural damage
  •   Dangerous airbourne debris
  •   Widespread power failure


Severe Tropical Cyclone

  •   Widespread structural damage
  •   Extremely dangerous
  •   Widespread destruction

Cyclone Season

November - April

Pre-season Preparation

The risk of danger and damage can be minimised if you take proactive response to protecting yourself and preparing your surroundings.


  •   Check that walls, roofs and eaves are secure
  •   Trim treetops and branches well clear of any structures
  •   Preferably fit shutters/metal screens to all glass areas
  •   Clear the property of loose material that could blow about and possibly cause injury or damage


  •   Know your surroundings
  •   In case of storm surge/tide, or other flooding, know your nearest safe high ground and the safest access routes
  •   Keep a list of emergency phone numbers on display
  •   Check with local authorities and/or management for evacuation procedures


  •   Portable battery radio
  •   Torch and spare batteries
  •   Water containers, dried or canned food & can opener
  •   Matches, fuel lamp, portable stove, cooking and eating equipment
  •   First aid kit and manual
  •   Tape & waterproof bags
  •   Store somewhere safe and handy

What to do during a cyclone threat


While the threat remains, a tropical cyclone watch will be issued every six hours.
  •   Re-check the property for any loose material and tie down (or fill with water) all large, relatively light items such as boats and rubbish bins
  •   Fill vehicles' fuel tanks. Check your emergency kit and fill water containers
  •   Ensure you know where the strongest part of the building is and what to do in the event of a cyclone warning or an evacuation


Depending on official advice provided by your local authorities, the following actions may be warranted:
  •   Park vehicles under solid shelter (hand brake on and in gear)
  •   Close shutters or board-up or heavily tape all windows. Draw curtains and lock doors
  •   Pack an evacuation kit of warm clothes, essential medications, valuables and important papers (as well as your emergency kit)


Listen to news, stay inside, stay calm.
  •   Disconnect all electrical appliances. Listen to your battery radio for updates
  •   Stay inside and shelter (well clear of windows) in the strongest part of the building, i.e. cellar, internal hallway or bathroom. Keep evacuation and emergency kits with you
  •   If the building starts to break up, protect yourself with mattresses, rugs or blankets under a strong table or bench or hold onto a solid fixture, e.g. a water pipe
  •   Beware the calm 'eye'. If the wind drops, don't assume the cyclone is over; violent winds will soon resume from another direction. Wait for the official 'all clear'
  •   If driving, stop (handbrake on and in gear) - but well away from the sea and clear of trees, power lines and streams. Stay in the vehicle


Wait for the official all-clear.
  •   Don't go outside until officially advised it is safe
  •   Check for gas leaks. Don't use electrical appliances if wet
  •   If the building starts to break up, protect yourself with mattresses, rugs or blankets under a strong table or bench or hold onto a solid fixture, e.g. a water pipe
  •   If you have to evacuate, or did so earlier, don't return until advised. Use a recommended route and don't rush
  •   Beware of damaged power lines, bridges, buildings, trees, and don't enter floodwaters
  •   Heed all warnings and don't go sightseeing
  •   Don't make unnecessary telephone calls