Cyclone preparation reminder

The Cairns Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) has moved to alert status and is continuing to monitor Tropical Cyclone Jasper, which is about 1,320km east northeast of Cairns.

The severe weather system is currently in the Coral Sea and is expected to move closer to land over the next few days.

Mayor Terry James, who is the LDMG Chair, said residents should use the weekend to go over their household emergency plans and visit the Cairns Disaster Dashboard.

“Like all cyclones, TC Jasper is unpredictable and while its forecast track remains uncertain, it is a timely reminder to residents that we are in the wet season and we need to be prepared at all times,” he said.

“Cairns has not been impacted by a cyclone for a number of years, so complacency among residents is a real concern.”

“We have also had many people move to the Far North in recent years who may not be familiar with cyclones and what to do if one is threatening to cross the coast near the city.”

In a cyclone, Cairns evacuation advice is given based on storm surge, not wind.

Storm surge is caused when the pressure from a cyclone pushes down on the ocean surface forcing seawater onto land.

Council has identified storm surge zones based on risk – the red zone is the highest risk area, closest to the coast, progressing to orange and yellow.

Areas near tidal rivers may be included in storm surge zones, even if they are a ‘long way’ from the coast.

Cr James said every household should now have their household emergency kit stocked.

“By providing detailed information on areas at risk from storm surge, Council is giving members of the public the tools to make their own potentially life-saving decisions,” he said.

“Individuals and families need to make those decisions and work out what they need to do if a cyclone approaches our coastline.”

“During a disaster event, your individual needs will be best met by being ready and self-sufficient. That means doing your research and planning well before any warnings are issued.”

Residents in areas that could be inundated by storm surge will be advised to self-evacuate and seek temporary accommodation with family and friends in safer, ‘higher’ locations, outside threatened zones.

Storm tide shelters will only be activated for those residents in storm tide zones who have no alternative accommodation. Residents will need to show photo identification.

Council will advise the location of evacuation facilities once they are opened, by local media, ABC radio, the Cairns Disaster Dashboard, and Cairns Disaster Centre Facebook page.

  • Shelters are designed to save lives by accommodating as many people as possible. They are not comfortable.
  • Residents may be locked in for up to 18 hours; they will have a seat and all possessions must fit underneath; there are no showers or cooking facilities; there is no smoking or consumption of alcohol; residents must bring their own food and snacks, water is provided; and pets (except assistance animals) are not allowed.

Residents need to be aware which coloured zone they live in and the zone of the house they plan to self-evacuate to.

The easiest way is entering their address in the ‘Storm Surge Search’ feature of Council’s website, or viewing the storm surge maps on the Cairns Disaster Dashboard.

Stay informed:

The Cairns Disaster Dashboard now has an interactive cyclone track map which includes official five-day forecast advice and information from the Bureau of Meteorology.

You can check the dashboard for updates on road conditions, power outages, weather warnings, flood cameras and other emergency information.

The dashboard also has information on storm tide zones and evacuation routes, live feeds from traffic and flood cameras and an interactive map showing road closures, the location of fires and other hazards.

The ABC (801 AM, 106.7 FM or 95.5 FM) is the official emergency broadcaster and a critical source of information, especially if other communication channels are impacted by loss of power or internet.

Register for Cairns Alert which is an opt-in service. Text messages will come from the Cairns Disaster Group.

/Public Release. View in full here.