Australia’s weather and climate are changing in response to the global climate.
Not only are the intensity of storms and specifically thunderstorms increasing but they can also cause heavy rainfall that can impact your home.
In some regions of Australia there are bushfires that can even generate storms within their smoke plumes. These storms can lead to dangerous fire conditions, as seen in the 2019-2020 summer.
With more unprecedented weather on the horizon, here are several steps you can take to minimise the risks and consequences associated with storms.
Secure Loose Items
Severe thunderstorms typically bring strong winds, which can turn loose objects around your home into dangerous projectiles, possibly causing damage to your own, or your neighbour’s, property.
Ahead of time, take time to remove or secure loose items on your back veranda or in your yard, including outdoor furniture, trampolines and building materials.
If you’re going on holiday, batten down before you leave.
Clean Your Gutters
Clogged gutters can cause heavy rain to overflow and collect around the foundations of your home.
Unchecked, this can lead to cracks in your home’s foundation, which in turn can damage its structure.
This water can also infiltrate your home, seeping into your home’s roof and/or wall spaces leading to damaged contents inside the home and triggering mould.
Avoid these scenarios by regularly checking and maintaining your gutters, especially if you live in an area where there’s plenty of debris that naturally falls onto your roof.
Trim Trees and Branches
Severe storms can saturate the tops of trees with water and soften the ground around their roots.
Throw in some strong wind gusts and it explains why storms can break branches or knock entire trees over.
Trees that are close to your home can cause extensive damage if they fall, so it’s a good idea to trim back any overhanging branches or engage a tree surgeon and ask whether any large trees pose risk to your property (before getting a tree removed, check whether it’s a protected tree. If it is, you’ll most likely need to your local council’s approval to remove it).
If a problem tree is on council land or growing into powerlines, engage with your council or utility provider respectively to consider trimming or cutting it down.
And when strong winds are forecast, consider parking your car away from any large trees, if possible.
Fix any Damage to Your Roof
A 10cm hailstone falling at over 140km/h can easily highlight your roof’s inefficiencies, so its condition is critical.
Check your home’s roof annually to ensure there are no damaged, unsecured, or misaligned tiles or metal sheets. Rust or discolouration can also signal potential problems.
If in doubt, go inside your roof cavity. If you can see light, it may be a sign your roof is damaged. While you’re there, give the air a sniff: A damp, stale smell could spell trouble.
Roof repairs can be technically challenging and physically treacherous, so are best left to professional roofers to carry out.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
In the middle of a storm, it can be difficult to find the things you need to get through it, especially if there’s a blackout.
That’s why it’s advisable to plan ahead and gather together all the things you’ll need when bunkering down.
Suggested emergency-kit items include:
- emergency contact numbers
- battery-operated radio
- replacement batteries
- first-aid kit
- essential medications
- bottled water
- important documents.
Related article: How to prepare a home evacuation plan
Monitor Weather Warnings
Among these is the Bureau of Meteorology’s severe weather warnings, which describe the area under threat and the expected hazards.
Note that the lead time of these warnings can vary from just an hour or two to 24 hours or more.
If you have a battery-powered radio, you’ll be able to listen to weather reports specific to your area, even if your home has no power or Wi-Fi.
These reports can alert you to any evacuation plans and the recovery centres closest to you.
When it comes to storm season, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
By taking the steps outlined above, you’ll be better able to weather the storm.
Check Your Insurance Policy is Adequate
Storms can be unforgiving, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage, so it’s important you have adequate cover, and more importantly peace of mind that you’ll be looked after, should anything happen to your property.
Voted the winner of Canstar’s Insurer of the Year 2022, Budget Direct’s Home and Contents Insurance provides protection against all of these events, at a competitive price, keeping you safe for less.