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Evaluate your risk: How to prepare for and survive floods in a wet summer

Source: Getty Images Theo Clark

Australia is gearing up for a wetter summer season with above average rainfall across the eastern parts of the country.Experts are warning people to exercise caution near flood-prone areas.

The Bureau of Meteorology or BOM is forecasting a wetter than normal summer due to the La Niña weather event which is expected to cause above average rainfall across eastern Australia this summer.

Out of the 18 La Niña events in Australia since 1900, 12 have caused floods in parts of the country.

The Bureau’s senior climatologist Dr Andrew Watkins expects to see La Niña dominating our weather over summer at moderate to strong levels, peaking in January or December.

According to BOM, La Niña typically means increased rainfall across much of the country, cooler day time temperatures in the south of the tropics and greater tropical cyclone numbers.

David Baker, the deputy chief officer of Victoria State Emergency Service or VICSES says floods can happen anytime in all parts of the country. 

((“Heavy downfalls can cause flash flooding and we can see roads and other areas get swamped very quickly more so this summer, which will see the potential for more rainfall across southeast Australia.”

Findings from Allianz show that Australians are not as prepared as they should be for the event of flooding due to a lack of knowledge around La Niña.

The insurer’s national claims manager Mark O’Connor recommends educating yourself about what to do in the event of a flood and knowing your local support services and their numbers in advance.

If you know that your home is likely to be inundated by flood waters, Baker suggests making preparations in advance although the best precaution to take is not being there when it hits.

Baker encourages people to develop an emergency kit in case of fire or flooding scenarios.

The information on how to prepare your home for a disaster can be found on your local SES website.

In preparing your home for a possible flooding event, Baker also recommends taking care of your sewerage and drains in advance.

Baker warns against driving through shallow waters in the event of a heavy downpour as flash flooding can occur quickly.


Driving through deep water
Getty ImagesTobias Titz

He says if you are caught in heavy downfalls, it is best to pull over to a safe place or get to higher ground.

Stacey Pidgeon, national research manager from Australia’s Royal Life Saving Society says pedestrians should also avoid going into flood waters under any circumstance.


And it’s vital that you do not attempt to rescue someone by going into the water yourself.

In the event of an emergency, Baker says nothing is more important than staying alive

Visit your local State Emergency Service (SES) website or Royal Life Saving Australia website for more information on preparing for flooding events.

For your latest weather forecast and update, visit the Bureau of Meteorology website.

If you require support in a flooded area, call SES by dialling 13 25 00.

Call 000 immediately if your life is in immediate danger.

For language support, call the national translating and interpreting service on 13 14 50 and ask for your designated agency.


  • People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits. 
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