Queenslanders warned to prepare for severe weather events

QUEENSLANDERS are urged to 'get ready' as we move into the summer season by safeguarding their homes and properties ahead of any severe weather.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said severe weather could strike Queensland in the form of fires, tropical cyclones, floods or severe thunderstorms and every year somewhere within the state is affected by severe weather.

Launching RACQ Get Ready Week with Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning Jackie Trad, Ms Palaszczuk urged Queenslanders to ensure they were prepared for volatile weather.

"Being prepared is important for all Queenslanders because disasters can strike anywhere at anytime," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"I saw first-hand the damage Cyclone Marcia caused and the devastating effect it had on Central Queensland. It was an extremely dangerous cyclone and caused more than $500 million damage but the effects are still being felt and the recovering is ongoing."

Ms Trad said that while coastal areas were at an increased risk of cyclone and storm surge at this time of the year, there was a strong possibility of hotter, drier weather impacting the state bringing an increased chance of heatwaves and more bushfires.

"Cyclones, floods, storms and heatwaves can strike anywhere in Queensland, but if you take action, make an emergency plan and have an emergency kit, you will be better prepared to handle any event," Ms Trad said.

"Disaster preparation is a year-round responsibility for all Queenslanders. I urge you to help your family, friends and neighbours and 'get ready' now."

Bureau of Meteorology Queensland Regional Director, Rob Webb, said the chances of severe weather events rapidly increase through spring and into summer.

"With the globe affected by a strong El Nino event, we'd typically see a slightly lower number of cyclones than average, with widespread flooding also less likely," said Mr Webb.

"Even if numbers are below average, any tropical cyclone can have a significant impact, particularly if it makes landfall in heavily populated region, or an area vulnerable to storm surge and flooding. Last season we saw two tropical cyclones cross the coast and both were severe."

RACQ Executive General Manager Advocacy Paul Turner said the State's peak motoring organisation is pleading with drivers to heed safety warnings and protect themselves and their vehicles in severe weather.

"The one thing we know in Queensland is that we never know what Mother Nature is going to hit us with come summer, so people need to be across safety advice and take it seriously," Mr Turner said.

"It is incredibly frustrating for emergency service workers and our traffic response units to see people thoughtlessly engaging in behaviour during storms which risks not only their lives, but those of their rescuers as well."

The Queensland Government supports disaster preparation education for all communities through $2 million in grants to councils and the Weipa Town Authority.

The RACQ Get Ready Queensland campaign is a year-round, all-hazards disaster preparedness and resilience building program, which works with individuals, community groups, emergency services, businesses and schools.

RACQ Get Ready Week runs from 12-18 October and people are urged to go to the RACQ Get Ready Queensland website to learn about how to prepare for any disaster that could strike this summer : www.getready.qld.gov.au

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