Weather News

Brisbane and South-East Queensland warned to prepare for floods and bushfires this summer

By Edwina Seselja, Monday October 12, 2020 - 10:43 EDT

Meteorology student and avid photographer Nicholas Thompson has been chasing storms — and "the perfect shot" — around South-East Queensland ever since he got his driver's licence five years ago.

The 21-year-old is gearing up ahead of the predicted

"The thing that attracted me to storms was the beauty: seeing the way the clouds develop and move," Mr Thompson said.

"The randomness of it is also quite intriguing."

It is this randomness that a weather tracking app, called WeatheX, is trying to help decode by collecting reports from users around the country to help monitor events such as storms.

The app's founding researcher Joshua Solderholm developed it in conjunction with a number of other stakeholders — and the help of "citizen scientists" — to better measure and predict severe weather events such as hail and flooding.

"It enables users to report rainfall, hail, flooding and severe winds at their location [in real time]," Dr Solderholm, who is also a research scientist at the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), said of the app's latest update.

Mr Thompson has been using the app for a while and with an increased chance of storms, floods and cyclones, reporting numbers are expected to be up over summer.

Storms and cyclones

State Emergency Service (SES) regional manager for the Brisbane region Mark Dole said potential flooding and storms were likely to be the main risk for the region and people needed to start planning and preparing now.

"It's one thing to develop a plan but the most important part is to actually practise it with the people who will be involved in it," he said.

Mr Dole said people should consider including elderly neighbours or relatives in the plan.

While preparing, he said, there were a number of questions people should be asking.

"How would you maintain living at home for a period of time if you were cut off?" Mr Dole said.

"Where would you go if you needed to evacuate?

"How would you maintain cooking and lighting in the absence of power?"

If you are not sure where to start when it comes to planning, the to help ensure you are ticking all the boxes.

Mr Thompson understands how powerful storms can be and has been working to get his Manly home, in Brisbane's Bayside, ready.

"If I know that there's a storm coming up I might take the chairs and the table inside, off the balcony to ensure they're not going to cause any damage," he said.

"Clear the gutters of leaves to ensure they're not going to overflow if we have a downpour of rain."

Preparing for bushfire season

While it is predicted to be a wetter season, the Rural Fire Service (RFS) is cautioning the community not to be complacent when it comes to bushfire season.

RFS regional manager for the Brisbane region Tim Chittenden said the potential for bushfires to start in the suburbs of Brisbane was still the same as it was every year.

"People need to make sure they've got those preparations in place and they are prepared to enact their plans if they have to," Mr Chittenden said.

"Anyone who lives in and around any bushland in Brisbane … it's about clearing your gutters out, making sure there's good access for fire services around your property, and most importantly sitting down with your family and developing a bushfire survival plan."

"The really important part of that is to sit down with everyone that lives at that home to make sure that they all understand the plan and they all understand what to do.

"It may not be that it's Dad's home, or Mum's home; it might be that the kids are the only ones home and they need to put things together."

'Prepare now' for bushfires

RFS volunteer Tony Young and his wife have been "flat-strap" preparing their 18-hectare Charlwood property in the Scenic Rim region for bushfires, conducting burn-offs and preparing their fire plan.

"People need to start preparing right now," he said.

Before purchasing the property in January, Mr Young and his wife lived at Canungra where they "had a close shave" during the Black Summer Bushfires, with two fire fronts coming towards their home.

"There was one coming from the south, and word was it was a monster, and a couple of kilometres before our house there was a wind change and it turned right, and that was " Mr Young said.

"It's made me far more aware that you don't have to be way out bush to be at risk.

"I'm clearing all the regrowth bush within 100 metres of my home, and I'm burning it to reduce the fuel load on the ground.

"I've also purchased an old ute and converted into what they call a light fire attack vehicle."

The 66-year-old is also setting up an irrigation sprinkler system and is using plugs to fill his gutters up with water, and he already has a plan of when he and his wife would evacuate and what they would need to take.


© ABC 2020

More breaking news

Sydney Morning Herald
ABC News
News Limited

Display Your Local Weather

Weather News

NSW Mid North Coast deluge records 297mm rain at Pacific Palms, but it's not considered an official record

18:28 EDT

Almost 300 millimetres of rain fell in one spot on the New South Wales Mid North Coast earlier this week — the most ever recorded at the location.

Queensland storms forecast again, but now there's a risk of fires

16:45 EDT

South-East Queensland could see a third consecutive day of storms, after a number of "intense cells" battered parts of the region again yesterday.