Bundaberg SES volunteers and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services crews have already been kept busy with weather-related incidents ahead of what is predicted to be a significant wet season.
The Bureau of Meteorology has identified a 66 per cent chance of a higher-than-average number of cyclones and an above-average chance of rainfall for Australia’s eastern region, partly due to a La Niña which has developed in the Pacific Ocean.
The last significant La Niña was 2010–12.
This strong event saw large impacts across Australia, including Australia’s wettest two-year periods on record, and widespread flooding.
This year's event is not predicted to be as strong as the 2010-12 event and may even be weaker than in 2020-21 La Niña event.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services North Coast Region Assistant Commissioner Gary McCormack said crews were prepared for the wet season and urged residents to do the same.
“There is a risk of increased weather activity in the coming months, so our communities need to be ready,” Mr McCormack said.
“In the first two weeks of November NCR State Emergency Service (SES) has already received more than 90 requests related to flooding, structural damage to homes and trees down.
“The region can rest assured it is in safe hands.
“We have nine NCR SES units comprising 47 groups, which equates to more than 700 active volunteers who are ready and willing to assist those in need.
“The SES delivers a wide variety of services from storm damage, flood boat operations, traffic management, land search, road crash, vertical and specialist rescue through to incident management and support for our emergency services partners, so our personnel are well-equipped to respond to a wide range of emergencies.”
The North Coast Region covers the coastal areas of Bundaberg, Hervey Bay and the Sunshine Coast and inland to the North and South Burnett.
Bundaberg SES on standby for weather events
Bundaberg SES local controller Kieran Galey said 100 SES volunteers were currently on standby to support residents in weather-related events throughout the region.
He said calls for assistance were already being met with the recent heavy rainfall experienced in the local area.
“The Bundaberg SES Unit has been very active this season with 50 requests for assistance already in our local community and with the predicted weather we are expecting more,” Kieran said.
“The volunteers are training weekly throughout the year and conducting various exercises for any scenario that may come their way.”
Kieran said it was important for locals to prepare for all types of weather and to remember to be vigilant during storm and flooding activity.
“We are asking all the community to get ready, prepare your properties by securing loose items, tie down any trampolines and furniture, clear out your gutters,” he said.
“If you don't need to be on the road during wet weather then stay home.
“Remember if it's flooded, forget it.”
NCR SES Regional Manager, Angela Everist said four tropical cyclones affected Queensland last season and the SES responded admirably then and would do so again this season if required.
“North Coast faced significant severe storms in that time, with more than 750 SES requests for assistance,” she said.
“Last financial year, NCR groups volunteered more than 17,000 hours in operational tasking and more than 52,000 hours in training, administration, group exercises, courses, public education, recruitment, fundraising and equipment maintenance.
“We can expect to see severe storms and heavy rainfall during the summer months, and the chance of a cyclone crossing somewhere along the Queensland coastline too. This should come as no surprise to Queenslanders and our communities need to be alert, but not alarmed.
“While we are always here to help, residents can help us by cleaning up their property, checking their insurance is up to date, stocking their emergency kit, ensuring they have a plan for their pets and downloading the SES Assistance QLD app on their mobile phone.
“As always, QFES will approach the disaster season side-by-side with local government to assist in storm season preparations so they can support communities during disaster events.”
To request assistance from the SES, lodge a request on the SES Assistance QLD app or call 132 500.