Time to prepare as tropical low could turn nasty for coast

IT IS time to ensure your home is storm safe.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) is advising northern and central Queensland residents to prepare for severe weather that could result in strong winds, heavy rainfall and localised flooding in the coming days.

‪The Bureau of Metereololgy has issued a cyclone watch for communities between Cairns and Mackay as it monitors a tropical low in the coral sea that could form into a cyclone over the weekend.

QFES Commissioner Lee Johnson said it was vital that people prepare for severe weather now as the system could bring heavy rain and strong winds to coastal and island communities.

"Local firefighters, SES volunteers and swiftwater technicians have been notified of the potential severe weather and are prepared to respond to any situation that requires their assistance," Mr Johnson said.

"The coastal areas of Queensland often experience cyclones at this time of year but many people don't adequately prepare and can be caught off guard for days or even weeks of flooding.

"Everyone should know their cyclone or storm surge risk and be aware of what measures you would need in place if the situation was to deteriorate."

Mr Johnson said there were steps people could take today to prepare for the days ahead.

"Check your house, in particular the roof, is in good condition, trim branches clear of the house, clean gutters, clear your property of debris and secure loose outdoor items," he said.

"Also ensure your emergency kit is well-stocked, with essential items, and is kept close by.

"If you have a smart phone, consider downloading the SES Assistance App from the App Store or Google Play.

"If you are located in an area, which could potentially be impacted by localised flooding, move vehicles, outdoor equipment, indoor items, garbage, chemicals and poisons to higher locations well ahead of time. Also be alert to the dangers associated with falling trees as a result of the anticipated high wind gusts."

Mr Johnson said the intense rainfall could result in the flooding of creeks, drains and causeways.

"Entering flooded creeks by foot or by vehicle is an extremely dangerous act," he said.

"There are so many hidden dangers lurking just below the surface of the water and those, along with the force of the water flow, can carry you away or pull you under at a moment's notice.

"The simple and constant message here is if it's flooded, forget it.

"Parents, please also discourage your children from playing or swimming in flooded creeks and drains. Floodwaters are deadly."

For flood and storm assistance contact the State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500 and for life-threatening emergencies dial triple zero (000).

Further information on weather warnings can be found at www.bom.gov.au.

For more information on how to prepare visit www.getready.qld.gov.au.

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