MACKAY has a very high risk of being impacted by cyclones.

Tropical cyclones are intense low-pressure systems that form over warm tropical waters.

They are dangerous because destructive winds can cause extensive damage and turn debris into dangerous missiles while heavy rainfall can produce extensive flooding and landslides and storm tides can increase sea levels above king tide level and cause damaging waves.

>> READ MORE: PREPARING FOR STORM SEASON

In March 2017, Category 4 cyclone, Cyclone Debbie crossed near Airlie Beach damaging houses in Mackay with strong winds and torrential flooding and causing significant coastal erosion.

While cyclone season officially runs from November 1 to May, early preparation for cyclones can help minimise property damage should a serious event occur.

Here’s how to start preparing your property for cyclone season:

1. Clean out gutters and drains

Gutters, drains and downpipes should be cleaned and inspected for damage twice a year. This helps the free flow of water from your property during extreme weather events such as cyclones and prevents water from backing up and potentially damaging your property.

2. Trim branches and check trees

It is a great idea to trim any dead or overhanging branches on your property before cyclone season starts. Overhanging branches can drop leaves into gutters and restrict the flow of water away from your house while dead branches can become projectiles in major storm events. Have a professional assess the roots of any large trees on your property for damage, so you can be more confident that they will stay upright and not fall on any buildings in the event of a cyclone.

>> READ MORE: THE YARD MAINTENANCE JOBS TO DO NOW

3. Inspect your roof

Roofs require maintenance. Inspect your roof for any loose sheets of iron, cracked tiles, gutter damage or damaged downpipes. A secure roof prevents leakage and prevents any extra projectiles flying around in a storm. Also, check the eaves of your home are secure.

4. Secure loose items in your yard

During extreme weather events, items in your yard can become projectiles. Trampolines, stacks of building materials and garden furniture, all have the ability to damage your property. Clear your property of loose materials that could blow about during extreme winds and look at ways to secure any outdoor items such as trampolines and garden furniture before a cyclone or have a plan in place to quickly secure them as needed.

5. Prepare an emergency kit

An emergency kit contains essential items that will sustain your household for at least three days of isolation in the event of a cyclone preventing you from being able to leave your home for an extended period.

Pulling together supplies and preparing an emergency kit early is Step 2 in Get Ready Queensland.

>> READ MORE: QFES URGES PROPERTY OWNERS TO CHANGE SMOKE ALARMS NOW

To prepare your emergency kit, purchase a sturdy, waterproof storage container that can be stored in a safe place in your home. It should be easy to access for all members of the household (except young children).

In your container, place the following supplies:

  • A properly equipped first aid kit with manual
  • Essential toiletries such as toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, personal hygiene
  • products, insect repellant and sunscreen
  • A supply of non-perishable foods
  • A can opener
  • Copies of important documents in print and/or on USB
  • At a minimum, 10L of drinking water per person
  • Spare phone charger and fully charged portable battery charger
  • Wipes
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Sturdy work gloves
  • Hand sanitiser
  • A torch or two
  • Face masks
  • Tissues
  • Spare batteries for all the items that require batteries and other electricals

Finally, keep a list of local emergency phone numbers on display.

We have gone ahead and prepared for you a list of emergency contacts in Mackay that you can print and keep in your emergency kit and display on your fridge.

Download your copy of our emergency contacts PDF here.