Storms and thunderstorm asthma

Are you prepared for storms? Storms are common in Victoria and most minor damage is preventable with some simple actions to prepare your home.

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Danger from storms comes from wind, heavy or continuous rain, lightning, flying debris, hail, fallen powerlines and loss of power.

Before a storm

Here’s how you can prepare your property:

  • Maintain your roof - clean gutters, spouting and downpipes regularly, fix loose tiles, roofing iron and ridge capping. This can prevent water collecting in your roof and causing it to collapse.
  • Trim or remove tree branches overhanging your home.
  • Inspect and fix fences.
  • Bring inside or tie down any loose items in your yard.
  • Ensure everyone knows where, how and when to turn off the mains power, water and gas in case of emergency and evacuation.
  • Talk to your neighbours, family and friends to see what their plans are and talk about how you can help each other.

During a storm

  • Avoid driving if possible. If you must drive, take extreme care. Beware of fallen trees and power lines.
  • Lightning can kill - if outside seek shelter but never seek shelter under a tree.
  • Monitor conditions using a variety of the communications methods. Remember that electricity, phone and internet may not be available in a large storm so keep a battery or wind-up powered radio in your house.
  • Put vehicles under solid cover well away from trees, power lines and waterways.
  • Stay indoors and bring pets inside.

After a storm

  • Avoid driving through affected areas.
  • After a storm contact your insurance company immediately and take photos of any damage.
  • If damage has caused the power to go out, it can be dangerous to turn it back on until it can be checked by a licensed electrician. If powerlines are damaged, contact your electricity distributor.
  • Be aware of road hazards, such as floodwater, debris and damaged roads or bridges.

For more information, download Are You Prepared — Storms.


Thunderstorm asthma

Thunderstorm asthma events are believed to be triggered by an uncommon combination of high grass pollen levels and a certain type of thunderstorm. This causes pollen grains from grasses to be swept up in the wind and carried distances.

Under these certain storm conditions, people may experience breathing difficulties due to pollen in the air, triggering severe asthma symptoms for people who suffer from asthma or hay fever.

If you have or have had asthma or seasonal hay fever you are at increased risk of thunderstorm asthma.

You can protect yourself by following these simple steps:

  • Monitor the thunderstorm asthma risk forecast on the Vic Emergency app.
  • Don’t be outdoors in a storm, especially during the winds before the storm arrives.
  • Take your preventative medication as directed, even if you have no symptoms.
  • Carry your reliever and know how to manage an asthma attack.
  • Follow your asthma action plan or use the 4 steps of asthma first aid.

For more information about thunderstorm asthma and how to protect yourself visit Thunderstorm asthma — Better Health Channel webpage.