Prepare your home for rain this summer advises Angus Raine

NOVEMBER 25, 2021

In the wake of the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) declaring a La Niña has developed in the Pacific Ocean[i]Angus Raine, Executive Charman Raine & Horne is urging all Australians to consider measures to protect their homes against storms and flood this summer. 

The Bureau’s Head of Operational Climate Services, Dr Andrew Watkins, said that typically during La Niña events, rainfall becomes focused in the western tropical Pacific, leading to wetter than usual periods for eastern, northern, and central parts of Australia.

Dr Watson added that La Niña also increases the chance of cooler than average daytime temperatures for large parts of Australia and the number of tropical cyclones. “La Niña is also associated with earlier first rains of the northern wet season, as we’ve observed across much of tropical Australia this year.

The last significant La Niña was 2010–12. According to the BOM, this strong event saw significant impacts across Australia, including Australia’s wettest two-year periods on record and widespread flooding.

Get prepared for storm season

Mr Raine said, “When it comes to preparing for summer this year, it will be a classic case of it never rains, but it pours. In 2019, the country was on fire, then we’ve had two years of a pandemic, and now we have the prospect of the wettest and stormiest summer in a decade. 

“So, with the clouds of this year’s summer storm season gathering, it’s essential that householders take some steps to prepare, including checking that their home and contents insurance policies are up to date.” Other storm and flood mitigation measures include:

  • Removing and storing any potential hazards around your front or back yards
  • Trimming back tree branches around your home
  • Checking the roof, gutters and downpipes for debris or broken objects. Clean them out and repair broken tiles or other loose objects.
  • Check any trees near power lines and organise for a contractor to help trim them back to reduce any risk they may cause to your property in the advent of a major storm or high wind event.

Have a relocation plan in place

Mr Raine adds that for those householders living in an area at higher risk from storm or flood damage, maintain a list of emergency phone numbers and contact details. 

“If you live in an area prone to flood or storm damage, it might be worth having a relocation plan at the ready just in case. Also, prepare an emergency kit including first aid provisions, a torch, radio, and spare batteries. Also, be sure that you know how to turn off your gas, electricity, and water supply.”

Fix any damage to the roof and gutters 

Be sure to organise any necessary repairs to your home structure, including the roof and gutters and only engage with a licensed contractor for this work. “Also, consider fitting your windows with shutters or metal screens for protection against strong winds,” Mr Raine said. 

When a storm is on the way, Mr Raine advises homeowners to ensure that outdoor furniture and wheelie bins are secured and that pets and animals are moved to a safe place. “Animals are often startled by storms and thunder, and this may cause them to damage items in your home.”

He continued, “Also, park your vehicles undercover and secure them – this might involve using tarpaulins and blankets if you can’t garage the car.”

While this isn’t an exhaustive list of safety measures, the BOM advises Australians to keep themselves and their properties safe by staying up to date with the latest forecast and warnings on its website or downloading the BOM Weather app.

Checklist: How to prepare your home for storm season 

  • Clean gutters, downpipes, and drains.
  • Remove tree branches close to your home.
  • Secure loose items around your property.
  • Learn how to turn off your power, water, and gas safely.
  • Get a professional builder to assess the structural integrity of your house. 
  • Keep your phone charged and ready.
  • Monitor the BOM website or app.