Storm season begins with new warning system

Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience

The NSW State Emergency Service (SES) is adopting the new Australian Warning System as the official Storm Season begins, with an increased risk of damaging weather in the months ahead.

Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said while storms and floods are experienced year-round, the highest period of danger stretches from the beginning of October to the end of March.

‘With Storm Season now upon us, there’s no reprieve for New South Wales communities and the SES, which has been engaged in operations in some parts of the State for almost 12 months,’ Ms Cooke said.

‘The annual increased frequency of storms, strong winds and rain will coincide with a third consecutive La Nina, which means communities right across the State will remain on high alert.

‘News of more rain and wild weather is hard to hear, particularly for our flood-fatigued communities in the Northern Rivers, Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley and Western NSW, but it’s important that we’re not complacent.

‘For the first time the SES is rolling out an updated warning system, which will deliver more localised and targeted communication of risks, and clearer warnings about the action people need to take to stay safe.’

The new Australian Warning System includes the following three tiers of warnings:

  1. Advice;
  2. Watch and Act; and
  3. Emergency Warning.

Warnings during storms and flood events will continue to be distributed through text message alerts, the SES website, SES social media channels, ABC radio stations and media outlets.

SES Commissioner Carlene York said volunteers have experienced their busiest year on record, responding to more than 50,000 flood and storm jobs in the 12 months to June 2022.

‘It’s been an extraordinarily wet year and SES volunteers have been operational somewhere across the State every single day of 2022,’ Commissioner York said.

‘We are heading into a period where there is a greater chance of storms and floods, and it’s essential to take simple steps now like preparing an emergency evacuation kit in case you need to evacuate your home.

‘Making safe decisions including evacuating when you are told and not driving through flooded roads and causeways will help protect yourself and your family this Storm Season.”

The NSW Government is supporting the SES with a $132.7 million Budget investment in facilities, hiring new staff, acquiring more resources and restructuring the agency’s operations.

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