Understand the risk of storms
Severe storms can create hazards for people and damage property, roads and essential services. They can also cause flash flooding and coastal erosion.
This season's storm risks
In NSW we are expecting increased storm activity. This might include lightning, large hail, strong winds and heavy rainfall, which can lead to flash flooding.
The Bureau of Meteorology has declared an El Niño climate pattern has developed. El Niño may mean hotter and drier conditions on average.
Climate change factors like higher average temperatures, changing rainfall patterns and sea level rise are also:
- increasing the risk of extreme weather
- making it harder to predict severe storms.
Read more on climate forecasts at the Bureau of Meteorology website.
During storm season there is a heightened risk of severe weather including:
- heavy rainfall
- high winds
- large hail
Extreme weather events can cause flash flooding, coastal erosion, high seas and storm surges.
Coastal erosion can occur quickly in a storm and create hazards for people and property. Visit the SES for information about coastal erosion.
Risks at home
Be wary of storms when travelling
When planning a trip away, it's important to find out the risk of storms at your destination and what to do in an emergency.
Before you leave
- Check the NSW SES warnings and Bureau of Meteorology forecasts for the area you're visiting.
- Know how to get to your destination, as well as alternate routes in case the road is blocked or too dangerous. Live Traffic NSW provides real-time information about incidents and traffic conditions that may affect your journey. Check on local council websites for local road closures.
- Take an emergency survival kit.
- Get to know the storm alert levels that are used during a severe weather or thunderstorm warning.
- Never enter or travel through floodwater, including flash flooding.
Carry a mobile phone and charger and save, download or print the following before you leave:
- Hazards Near Me NSW app
- NSW SES website and help line 132 500
- Bureau of Meteorology website, Facebook and X (formerly Twitter)
- your local ABC radio station.
Do not rely on a single source of information – your phone may not work in a remote area.
If you have to drive in a storm
Driving in a storm is risky. The safest place to be during a storm is indoors. However, if you must drive in bad weather, there are some precautions you can take:
- Slow down and turn on your day running lights or headlights to increase your visibility.
- To avoid a collision when braking on wet road, allow a larger gap between your car and the car in front of you.
- Do not drive through floodwater. Turn around and find another route or wait until the road is clear.
- If the weather gets worse, pull over, turn on your hazard lights, and wait in a safe place until conditions and visibility improve.
Check your insurance
Understanding the risk of storms where you live can also help you assess the type of insurance and how much coverage you may need. Consider whether you should get coverage for, but not limited to:
- home and contents
- rural and/or farm
- income protection
- total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance
- mobile phone, tablet and laptop insurance
- motor bikes, scooters and cycles.
Storms vs flood insurance cover
Most home and contents insurance includes cover for storms, but for some policies, flood cover is optional. This may include damage from creeks or rivers that flood due to heavy rains.
Contact your insurer or check your policy to find out what coverage you have, and any exclusions that apply.
Contact your insurer, insurance broker or financial adviser for recommendations for your situation.