Why May is the month storms cause significant damage in WA

As WA’s first cold front approaches, authorities have warned storms often do significant damage in May because homeowners have not yet got around to preparing their properties.

From May to October, the southern half of the state is particularly vulnerable, with reports of heavy tree branches falling on cars, water damage from blocked gutters and strong winds picking up items as large as trampolines and hurling them through homes common.

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a severe cold front could reach western parts of the state during the middle of next week, bringing wet and windy conditions everywhere but the northeast of WA.

The Bureau’s WA manager James Ashley said the south west typically saw four to six cold fronts and one to two severe cold fronts each month through the cooler seasons.

When we talk about severe weather we’re. . . talking about dangerous winds with gusts well over at 90 kilometres an hour. Small hail is often a common feature of these events as well as flooding, he said.

The South West of WA also sees five tornadoes with passing fronts each year on average, including two typically impacting the Perth metropolitan area.

It is a timely reminder for all of us to follow the advice of local emergency services before, during and after severe weather.

Fire and Emergency Services commissioner Darren Klemm said preparation was the first line of defence against unpredictable weather.

While most of the state is still experiencing sunny and mild weather, now is the window of opportunity to prepare before the full force of storm season hits, he said.

We often see the most significant storm damage occurring in May, as people typically wait until the weather starts to turn before starting to prepare their homes for severe weather.

DFES is encouraging people to start that work now – not only could it save you a significant amount of money by avoiding damage to your home, and avoid delays in building and supply shortages, it could help relieve the pressure on SES volunteers who respond to calls for help during the winter months.

He said it was important to clear debris, tie down loose items, clean gutters and trim any overhanging tree branches.

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