Storm safety: What to do in a storm
Don’t get caught out in stormy weather this summer. Here’s how to stay safe in a storm.
Victorians should brace for severe weather in the coming months with atmospheric conditions ripe for thunderstorms, heavy rains and strong winds through spring and summer, known as peak ‘storm season’.
Victorian householders got a taste of what’s to come when storms lashed the state in June 2021, with RACV’s Emergency Home Assist experiencing a massive spike in call-outs for help.
Annually, up to 10 Australians die from lightning strikes, while falling trees and branches due to strong winds cause further deaths. RACV advises people to be “storm safe” and prepare for dangerous weather.
“These weather events can be very localised, but extremely intense,” warns Kirsty Hayes RACV’s Head of Home Insurance. “The strong winds, hail and lightning that accompany these storms can cause enormous damage to property and even loss of life.”
Hayes says dangers include flash flooding, which can inundate homes, strand vehicles and pose extreme risks to families and urges Victorians to ensure that they have adequate Home Insurance coverage in place prior to heading off on holidays this summer
While summer storms are often short in duration, they can cause severe damage.
Heavy rain can also cause significant damage during summer storms, says RACV’s Home Services trade training manager, Andy Anderson.
“We tend to find that in the warmer months there are downpours, such as 100 millimetres in a few hours, and then even a perfectly maintained home may not be able to cope,” he says.
Even a small crack in a roof tile can allow water to get inside the roof and into a home’s electrical system, shorting out power, he says.
He says gutters that have not been cleaned can overflow and drains can be blocked causing water to back up and leak into the house.
Driveways that slope toward a house can wash debris along with water in a heavy downpour causing flooding of courtyards and garages, he says.
He says homeowners should prepare for storms by having their gutters cleaned and roof checked in advance. People should heed storm warnings and secure garden furniture and other outdoor items, park cars under cover and shut all external doors and windows.
Image above: Rob Embury, palebluedotphotography.com.au