What is La Niña?

A La Niña event is forecast to impact Australia during the period spanning December 2021 to March 2022. La Niña is a complex weather pattern that pushes warmer water towards the Western side of the Pacific, and often results in above average levels of rainfall, particularly across the Northern and Eastern parts of Australia, as well as an increased chance of tropical cyclones occurring.

Rainfall Assessment December 21

Rainfall Assessment January 22

What does this mean for me?

A heightened likelihood of rain, coupled with high dam levels, increases the possibility of flooding, particularly for those people or businesses close to floodplains or low lying areas. As such, there are some things that are worth considering in order to ensure that you, your family, and your business remain safe.

What should I do to prepare for flooding?

If your area is at risk of flooding, here are some things to be mindful of in order to keep yourself safe.

  • You may not always receive an official warning before floods begin to impact you, therefore it is important to be aware of the flood situation in your local area. Monitor the local situation by personally witnessing the height and rate at which floodwaters are rising; maintaining contact with other people in your local community through trusted social media channels and local radio stations to receive and share updates on the flood situation.

  • Monitor the likelihood of flash flooding by keeping up to date with Severe Weather Warnings and Severe Thunderstorm Warnings issued by the Bureau of Meteorology.

  • When flash flooding is likely, leaving low-lying homes and businesses (evacuation) well before it begins is the best action to take, but only if it is safe to do so. If you are trapped by rising floodwater, seek refuge in the highest part of a sturdy building. Stay there and call '000' (triple zero) if you need to be rescued. If you have the Sonder app installed, ensure you have location sharing turned on - by doing so, we can work with emergency services to ensure they locate you.

  • Never drive into floodwater or on flooded roads, even if it appears shallow, as the major cause of death during floods occurs when people enter or travel through floodwater. Dangers include driving, riding and walking through floodwater, and children playing in floodwater. Roads and surfaces underneath floodwater can wash away and may not be visible from the surface. Floodwaters can change quickly and may contain hidden snags or debris, as well as chemicals, raw sewage, snakes, spiders and other hazards.

  • Motorists in high-risk flood areas should be aware of evacuation routes and be prepared before extreme weather events. During floods, motorists should follow the advice of authorities and adjust their route accordingly to avoid driving into danger. Contact your local council for local road closures.

  • Conditions in floodwaters can change quickly. Roads or crossings that may have appeared safe a short time ago may quickly become dangerous. If in doubt about being able to cross, the safest choice is not to enter floodwaters.

  • In life-threatening situations call 000 (Triple Zero).

What can I do to prepare for a storm?

  • Maintain awareness of your local environment by monitoring local news sources, trusted social media channels and radio stations, and by maintaining contact with people within your community. Monitor official channels, such as the Bureau of Meteorology, in order to stay up to date with any severe thunderstorm or flash flooding warnings.

  • Move vehicles under cover or away from trees and secure or put away loose items around your house, yard and balcony.

  • Keep at least 8 metres away from fallen power lines or objects that may be energised, such as fences. Trees that have been damaged by fire are likely to be more unstable and more likely to fall.

  • Report fallen power lines to either Ausgrid (131 388), Endeavour Energy (131 003), Essential Energy (132 080) or Evoenergy (131 093) as shown on your power bill.

  • Stay vigilant and monitor conditions. For emergency help in floods and storms, ring your local SES Unit on 132 500.

How can I stay safe when a storm hits?

  • If you're swimming or surfing, leave the water immediately

  • Seek shelter in a 'hard-top' (metal-bodied) vehicle or solid building

  • Stay inside

  • Shelter away from windows, doors and skylights

  • Avoid sheltering under trees. If you are in an open area, crouch in a hollow (alone with your feet together) and avoid being the highest object in the vicinity.

  • If powerlines are damaged by the storm, stay far away from them.

  • Stay familiar with the updates from BOM and WeatherWatch which give regular updates on weather conditions.

  • Call 000 if your life is in danger, or call the SES on 132 500 for non life-threatening storm damage.

What should I do in the event of a cyclone?

The possibility of tropical cyclones reaching land, particularly in the Northern and Northwestern parts of Australia, brings some additional considerations for people or businesses in those areas. Be sure to monitor official channels, such as the Bureau of Meteorology, in order to enable forewarning, prepare a cyclone plan and a cyclone emergency kit. Find out more information about how to prepare for a cyclone here.

If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime, in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.

Information sourced from: Bureau of Meteorology and Sky News Weather

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