Weather bureau: This Summer has a 2010 feel about it

A very hot, then wet spring, followed by a rather cold start to summer … it has a familiar feel to 2010-11 in South East Queensland.

That was the summer of the most serious weather event in recent memory in South East Queensland.

Of further concern, the Bureau of Meteorology warned last week that a La Nina is almost certain to develop in the Pacific this summer.

BOM said that during La Nina years, Australia’s eastern seaboard tends to have wetter than usual summers. The cyclone season can also be more active than usual.

Eight climate models used by the bureau point to La Nina thresholds being reached or exceeded in December and the event will last until at least February.

However, some of the modelling suggests “it is expected to be very different from the strong 2010-12 La Nina” and be weaker and short-lived.

Forecasts can be fickle – but the signs are there, prompting BOM to issue a La Nina alert.

Dr Andrew Watkins, Manager of Climate Prediction Services at BOM since 2011, said there was a 70 per cent chance, or triple the normal likelihood, of a La Nina occurring.

Listen to and read about his La Nina alert here:

Unusual conditions

Who could have predicted that Ipswich would suffer a 40-plus day in September, one of the wettest Octobers on record, and then hardly see any days of 30-plus temperatures in November?

The message from Ipswich City Council Infrastructure and Emergency Management Committee Chairperson Cr Cheryl Bromage is to be prepared – now not later.

“My first suggestion is to watch Council’s Get Flood Ready in Ipswich video as schoolboy Will discusses an emergency plan.

“It is short and sweet, but sums up perfectly how to get ready for storm season. You can never be too prepared for what Mother Nature throws at us, often without much warning.”

Cr Bromage also encouraged residents to check out Council’s emergency management dashboard ( for emergency news, road conditions, weather warnings and power outages.

“Anyone can register to use it to find that vital information on storm alerts, road closures or where power lines might be down.

“It is verified information and up-to-date. It can help protect properties and, most importantly, save lives.”

The role of the SES

Cr Bromage said the State Emergency Service played an important role in storm season.

“The SES are all volunteers, they do such a tremendous job to help the community,” she said.

The SES advised Ipswich residents to start preparing now by trimming trees and branches, securing loose items in yards, clearing gutters, downpipes and drains, checking for roof damage, and updating house and contents insurance.

State Emergency Service Regional Manager Mark Kelly reiterated the message about finalising storm preparations before severe weather strikes.

“Last storm season, the SES were called out to more than 700 jobs across the Ipswich region, with the majority of these tasks relating to structural damage and flooding,” he said.

“There are simple things everyone can do around the home to minimise the damage caused by severe storms.

“Spending the time to prepare your property now could save a great deal of stress later.

“Clear gutters and downpipes, check the roof for loose or broken tiles, trim trees and remove overhanging branches, and secure loose items in the yard.

“It’s also important to flood-proof properties as much as possible, as heavy rain often leads to flooding in parts of the region.

“All residents should also have an emergency kit prepared and a plan detailing exactly what actions they would take if severe weather affected their area.

“Record important details in your plan, such as emergency –related phone numbers, details of electricity and other service providers, and contact details for relatives, friends and neighbours.”

Mr Kelly said practice makes perfect and to go through your emergency plan with family and friends.

He said residents who require storm and flood emergency assistance should call the SES on 132 500. In a life-threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000).

For more information on preparing for storm and cyclone season visit

Better prepared than before

The Queensland Government advised there were a number of things Ipswich residents could do now to be better prepared for any storms or disasters that could impact their communities in the coming months.

“This includes getting to know your neighbours so that you can check on each other – both after a warning is issued to let them know what your plans are and in the aftermath of a disaster to make sure they are safe,” said Communities Minister Shannon Fentiman.

“Make plans to keep your pets or livestock safe during a disaster. Pets may not be able to go into evacuation shelters and hotels, so consider how you can keep them safe and fed if you need to leave.

“You should also secure your property against damage and ensure your insurance is up to date and that you have sufficient cover to enable you to rebuild your home or replace your goods.

“Finally, make preparations with your family in case you may need to evacuate that take into account possible scenarios – such as a loss of telephone or power services or if you are separated from family members – and how you will respond. Create a checklist.”

Queensland Urban Utilities has joined the Get Ready Queensland campaign to help people prepare for potential severe weather this summer.

Water and sewerage services can be affected during storms, which is why drinking water is an essential part of every emergency kit.

Queensland Urban Utilities spokesperson Sally Prosser recommended storing at least three days’ supply of fresh water in containers – about 10 litres per person.

“You may need more if someone in your family has a condition which accentuates dehydration such as diabetes,” she said.

“If you have a pet, don’t forget to put aside water for them as well. During hot weather animals can become dehydrated just as quickly as humans.

“It’s important to remember a power outage can impact water services, especially for homes on hills which may rely on boosters to pump supply.

“We’d also ask homeowners to check their downpipes aren’t connected to the sewer system as we don’t want stormwater infiltrating the sewerage network.”

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