The Northern Territory is prone to tropical cyclones from November to April. Tropical cyclones, also known as hurricanes and typhoons, are low pressure systems that form over tropical waters and have gale force winds near the centre. Cyclones are dangerous because the winds can be destructive, and because heavy rainfall and storm surges (raised tidal levels) can cause flooding in low-level coastal areas. Cyclones range in severity from category 1 (least severe) to category 5 (most severe) and can last from a few days to a few weeks.
When there is a cyclone threat, warning messages are issued to the public via radio and television. It is essential that you follow all advice and instructions broadcast by the authorities.
Everyone in the Northern Territory should have a cyclone emergency plan. Familiarise yourself with the emergency plan at your accommodation and stay tuned to local media for weather advice and warnings.
Cyclone emergency plan basics:
- Ensure your accommodation meets cyclone resistant construction codes (is 'built to code'), or arrange to shelter with friends, family, or in a public shelter.
- If you are in a caravan or other light structure, seek advice about tying-down and securing your van.
- If you do need to evacuate, identify safe routes to your place of shelter.
- Ensure you have an emergency/evacuation kit ready to use (include a battery-operated radio, torch and spare batteries, and food and water).
- If there is a cyclone threat, stay tuned to local media for advice and instructions.