There are a range of official warnings and natural warning signs to be aware of in case flooding affects you in future.
Severe Thunderstorm Warnings
The Bureau of Meteorology issues Severe Thunderstorm Warnings whenever severe thunderstorms are occurring in an area or are expected to develop or move into the area during the next few hours. The warnings describe the area under threat and the particular hazards likely to be associated with the thunderstorms including flash flooding.
Severe Weather Warnings
The Bureau of Meteorology issues Severe Weather Warnings whenever severe weather is occurring in an area or is expected to develop or move into an area. The warnings describe the area under threat and the expected hazards. Warnings are issued with varying lead-times, depending on the weather situation, and range from just an hour or two up to about 24 hours.
Severe Weather Warnings are issued for:
- Sustained winds of gale force (63 km/h) or more
- Wind gusts of 90 km/h or more
- Very heavy rain that may lead to flash flooding
- Abnormally high tides (or storm tides) expected to exceed highest astronomical tide
- Unusually large surf waves expected to cause dangerous conditions on the coast
- Widespread blizzards in Alpine areas
A Flood Watch is issued by the Bureau of Meteorology if flood producing rain is expected to happen in the near future and flooding is expected to be above Minor level. A Flood Watch covers a river basin or catchment. The general weather forecasts can also refer to flood producing rain. You should be prepared to act should flooding occur.
A Flood Warning is issued by the Bureau of Meteorology when flooding is expected to occur or is happening. Flood Warnings provide a predicted flood level and time at which a river will reach that level. Flood Warnings are issued in relation to flood gauges which are situated at a certain point on a river. Flood Warnings may contain observed, peak or predicted river heights.
NSW SES Flood Warnings
NSW SES Flood Warnings provide information on likely flood consequences and what actions are required to protect yourself and your property.
Prepare to Evacuate - Watch and Act
When flooding is likely to cut evacuation routes or inundate property, the NSW SES will issue a Prepare to Evacuate - Watch and Act to indicate that you should prepare to evacuate. Being prepared will allow you to respond quickly if you are ordered to evacuate.
Evacuate Now - Emergency Warning
When you are required to evacuate, the NSW SES will issue an Evacuate Now - Emergency Warning advising you what to do and where to go. There are a number of ways you might hear about the need to evacuate including, but not limited to, door knocking (by SES or other emergency services), through radio stations, or by automated telephone and/or SMS alerts.
You should try to seek shelter with family or friends well away from flood impacted areas. In larger floods, evacuation centres may be established to help people affected by the flooding.
Reduced Threat: Return with Caution - Advice
The NSW SES will issue Reduced Threat: Return with Caution - Advice when it is safe to return to properties in flood affected areas.
Natural signs of flooding
It is important to be aware of the natural signs of flooding including heavy rainfall and rushing or pooling water. Be prepared if flooding occurs.
Ways you may be informed
All NSW SES Flood Warnings can be found on our homepage.
NSW SES also issues Flood Warnings to the media which inform people about what is expected to happen during flooding. Radio stations are asked to read and repeat these Flood Warnings.
The NSW SES may also post information on flooding in the News section of the NSW SES website as well as on the NSW SES Facebook site. If you are a member of Facebook, please 'like' the NSW SES (State Headquarters) Facebook page to receive current flood information, updates and advice.
Other ways you may be informed of possible flooding is via:
- a door knock by emergency services,
- word of mouth, or
- the NSW SES may issue an Emergency Alert. An Emergency Alert is a message that is sent to your land line or mobile phone as a voice or text message
- TV, radio and other media
The NSW SES advises people to always follow instructions given by the emergency services and to make sure neighbours, family and friends are aware of possible flooding.
It is also important for people living in areas which are prone to flooding to be proactive in sourcing information about potential floods. Talk to your local Council about local information and what services will be available during floods, monitor the Bureau of Meteorology website and keep informed through other websites, the media and family and friends.