Brisbane is still in clean up mode following the recent super storm, but as we head further into storm season the worst could still be to come. Here are some tips to help you stay safe and secure during even the worst weather conditions.

What you need to know for next time

More rough weather on the way

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland should expect more destructive super storms this summer. Reports of a looming summer El Nino weather pattern will create ideal conditions for more extreme storms, bringing the danger of more super storm cells.

Preparing for storm season

  • Clean up your yard. Trim tree branches clear of the house, and remove any green waste.
  • Ask the council to check nearby trees that might pose a threat to your property or powerlines (if the tree is on your property, it’s your responsibility to trim it).
  • Check and clean your roof, skylights, gutters and downpipes. Blockages can cause water to pool and enter your property. Working on a roof can be dangerous, of course, so contact an expert tradesman if you’re in any doubt.
  • Secure loose items. If a storm is approaching, make sure to secure any loose items in the yard so they don’t become potentially dangerous missiles. Even large items like outdoor furniture, trampolines and roofing iron can be picked up by strong winds and do damage.
  • Shelter and secure pets, and put vehicles under cover if possible or cover with blankets.
  • Store valuables up high if flooding is likely to affect your property.
  • Prepare an emergency kit. This should contain a torch, portable radio, spare batteries, first aid kit, emergency contact numbers and important documents such as insurance papers. If you lose power when the storm hits, use the portable radio to listen to your local station for updates on the storm, power outages and evacuation plans.
  • Identify the location of the closest Council depot offering collection of free pre-filled sandbags.
  • Check your insurance policy — is it current? Does it cover what you need? Consider the type of cover (building insurance if you’re a home owner or mortgagees, contents insurance for everybody), and the level of cover you’re insured for. Make sure you’re covered for flash flood, storm water runoff, landslip or landslide and damage to properties by trees.
  • As the storm approaches, park your vehicle undercover (and away from trees) if possible.
  • Secure doors, windows and awnings — covering windows with plywood can make a difference at the last minute.
  • If the storm comes without warning and it’s not possible to evacuate, stay indoors in a room in your house with no windows.
  • If you lose power, turn off and unplug your electrical items, especially computers. This should go without saying, but don’t use wet or damp electrical appliances.
  • Fill containers with drinking water while you can.

You can also sign up to Council’s Early Warning Alert Service on Brisbane City Council’s website. Nearly 90,000 households who have already signed up for the free service, which will notify residents of any urgent emergency alerts that may potentially affect their residential address via email, SMS, and/or home phone. Of course, some storms will strike with very little warning — we’ve just seen that — but it’s better than nothing.

What you need to know now

After the storm

Brisbane City Council is urging residents to avoid visiting parks in storm affected suburbs while recovery efforts are underway. This is for the safety of all residents and to ensure that the clean-up of storm debris can continue as quickly as possible.

Brisbane City Council wishes to advise residents that the following commuter routes and facilities have re-opened:

  • Bicentennial Bikeway, with diversion in place around the Regatta Hotel
  • Shared pathway from Goodwill Bridge to Alice Street in City Botanic Gardens is open (please note that the gardens remain closed)
  • Guyatt Park Ferry terminal.

School closures

  • St Brendan’s Primary School (Moorooka)
  • St Joseph’s Primary School (Kangaroo Point)

A full list of closed parks and affected suburbs can be found here on the Brisbane City Council website.

Insurance catastrophe

The damage bill for last week’s storm has reached $201 million, with more than 40,000 insurance claims being made as of 10am Monday, including 28,814 motor vehicle claims and 10,863 home and contents claims.
The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has formally declared a Catastrophe for hailstorm affected areas of Brisbane and South East Queensland. ICA CEO Rob Whelan said the insurance industry was escalating its response. Claims arising from the storm would be given priority treatment to reduce the stress on affected insurance customers.
The Catastrophe declaration means the ICA has set up a taskforce to liaise with the Queensland Government, local governments and emergency services organisations, and help manage issues and concerns as they arise, the ICA’s disaster hotline, 1800 734 621, has been activated to help affected residents who are not sure which insurer they are with, or who have general inquiries about the claims process. Insurers are also prioritising claims from the hailstorm.

No bailouts for businesses

Premier Campbell Newman has said that while his heart goes out to businesses, including the many car dealerships who may be facing closure due to extensive damage and a lack of hail insurance, the government would not be stepping in to offer assistance. “I’m afraid that’s one of the risks of this state and its climatic extremes,” Mr Newman told reporters in Brisbane on Sunday. “Government is not and never has been in the business of bailing out businesses from extreme weather events,” he said.

City clean-up

Brisbane City Council is offering kerbside collection for storm related green waste and large items from today, Monday 1 December, for storm affected suburbs. Brisbane City Council will collect unwanted household items that are too big for wheelie bins as part of the collection. When putting out items for collection remember to keep the piles tidy on the kerb so the footpath or roadway is kept clear.  Brisbane City Council will not collect piles larger than two cubic metres (equal to a small box trailer load), doors must be removed from refrigerators and cupboards, you must do not leave sharp or dangerous objects and items must be able to be easily and safely lifted by two people.

Acceptable items

  • Furniture and white goods (fridges)
  • Household appliances, including stoves
  • Carpet and lino
  • Bath and laundry tubs
  • Wood products
  • Bicycles

Unacceptable items

  • Vegetation (e.g. trees, grass, potted plants)
  • Dirt and stones
  • Bricks and concrete
  • Commercial builders waste
  • Car parts and tyres
  • General household waste (e.g. food scraps)
  • Liquids
  • Hazardous wastes (e.g. chemicals, oil, asbestos)
  • Gas bottles
  • Glass and mirrors
  • Household waste that normally goes into your refuse or recycling bin

If you can’t wait for the kerbside clean-up, Council’s transfer stations are in operation 24 hours and are located at:

  • 1560 Nudgee Rd, Nudgee
  • 360 Sherbrooke Rd, Wilawong
  • 101 Upper Kedron Rd, Ferny Grove
  • 728 Tilley Rd, Chandler (opposite Sleeman Sports Complex)

These are the essential numbers to call:

  • SES: 13 25 00
  • Energex: 13 19 62
  • Queensland Urban Utilities (sewage): 13 23 64
  • Brisbane City Council (for wet-weather-related issues outside your property): 3403 8888
  • RSPCA (for lost pets): 1300 363 736

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