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Community & Business

2 November, 2021

Residents urged to get ready for storm season

TABLELANDS residents are being urged to get ready for the imminent start to the cyclone/ wet season, with authorities gearing up for an active season.

By Robyn Holmes

SES Volunteers Kathrine Wiltshire and Melva Williams were at the Mareeba Markets over the weekend getting locals informed about how to get prepared for cyclone season.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology’s seasonal outlook, the region is facing an average to slightly-above average number of tropical cyclones for the 2021–22 Australian tropical cyclone season (November–April). 

“The Northern region outlook suggests a near-average number of tropical cyclones with a 57% chance of more tropical cyclones than average and a 43% chance of fewer tropical cyclones than average,” the bureau said. 

Ocean temperatures are currently average to warmer than average surrounding northern parts of the country and are expected to remain that way for the next three months, marginally increasing the likelihood of tropical cyclones developing.

Tablelands Local Disaster Management Group Chair Cr Bernie Wilce said the group would host a major preparation exercise next month to test all its functions. 

Exercise Whirlwind will be held on 13 November during which community disaster teams will practise their response to a severe tropical cyclone.

“The exercise will test community disaster plans and determine whether amendments are required in advance of the season. The scenario will also test the ability of community disaster teams to identify local resources, check on vulnerable people and determine and communicate priorities during disasters,” he said. 

“There will also be opportunities to test communications systems and determine how best to communicate between community disaster teams and the Tablelands Local Disaster Coordination Centre under a range of scenarios.” 

On 17 November, the group will host the recovery phase of Exercise Whirlwind which involves a scenario four days after the cyclone crosses the coast. 

“This will involve establishing a recovery group and sub-groups to address the various aspects associated with human-social, infrastructure, economic and environmental recovery,” Cr Wilce said.

Mareeba Shire Council will also set about testing its preparedness, with a desktop exercise planned for early December.

Mareeba SES Area Controller Sean McGuinness said SES members were out and about on Saturday at the Mareeba markets to urge residents to get ready for the upcoming season. 

“The message is to have your emergency kit ready, which is what you use when you are at home, and your evacuation kit ready which you can grab quickly with no notice if you have to evacuate,” he said. 

“It’s also really important to check on your neighbours and vulnerable people in your area and help each other to get prepared.” 

He encouraged residents to check the Get Ready website ( which has plenty of tips to keep your property and family safe.

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