The Whitsunday Regional Council through the Whitsunday Disaster Management Group (WDMG) has developed new Evacuation Maps (Storm Tide) for the coastal strip of the Whitsunday Region at risk of storm tide inundation.
What are the key improvements of the new maps?
- The maps are now much clearer and easier to understand
- The number of colour zones has been reduced from 7 to 5
- Each property or land parcel will only have 1 colour zone assigned
- It is easier to identify your property on the new maps
- Evacuation planning and execution will be more efficient and easily understood by both emergency services and residents and evacuation routes included
- Climate change risk included (sea level rise, more intense cyclones).
Maps include cyclone shelters and emergency services agency locations
The new zones have been developed by local emergency services working groups, taking into consideration information available from several sources including Storm Tide Inundations Maps, the AHD (Australian Height Datum) information, risks of properties becoming isolated, building plans, survey plans and local knowledge.
‘The new and improved Evacuation Maps (Storm Tide) were prepared in consultation with Queensland Fire and Emergency Services to prepare the community for inundation and evacuation if required. The maps are more comprehensive for the public and essential for decision making and issuing of public warnings during intense cyclones.’
Assistant Commissioner - QFES Central Region
'Bowen State Emergency Service fully endorse the new Evacuation (Storm Tide) maps as they are far easier for the public to understand.
Bowen SES along with other Emergency Services were involved in the process of developing these maps to ensure that evacuations from all affected zones are now efficient and safe. This will assist the local SES to direct public enquiries regarding correct zoning of properties for all residents.'
SES Local Controller - Bowen
Who is at risk from storm tide inundation in the Whitsundays?
2. Low-lying coastal areas (which most of the population reside near)
Storm tide risk has been mapped across the Whitsunday Region from Highest Astronomical Tide (HAT) level, also referred to as King Tide Level, to approximately 6.5m HAT.
What are Evacuation Zones (Storm Tide)?
Evacuation Zones (Storm Tide) are mapped areas that indicate a level of risk to a property being affected either directly or indirectly by storm tide. A direct effect of storm tide means sea water inundation. An indirect effect of storm tide includes things such as evacuation routes potentially affected and property isolation.
Five (5) colour Evacuation Zones have been created based on level of risk as follows:
NOTE: The Whitsunday Region has a long and diverse coastal region that includes several Storm Tide forecast warning locations and varying tidal ranges and heights. This diversity meant that minor height fluctuations of risk colour zones was required to enable a region wide approach to mapped levels.
What if my property is located in an Evacuation Zone (Storm Tide)?
If your property is one of the thousands of properties located in an Evacuation Zone (Storm Tide), you should do the following:-
1. Prepare an Evacuation Plan; identify your primary evacuation route and alternative evacuation routes.
2. Prepare an Evacuation Kit and Emergency Kit.
3. Consider and identify your evacuation and shelter options, these may include:
- Going to friends / family / accommodation premises in a higher and safer place.
- Leaving / evacuating the cyclone warning area entirely.
- Public Cyclone Shelters (last resort and only if open) are located in Bowen and Proserpine. These have capacity limits and are generally only open for Severe (Category 3, 4 or 5) Tropical Cyclone events. Refer to the Cyclone Shelter Page for more information.
- Shelter inside house (highest and safest part), if too late or unable to evacuate.
4. Tune into warnings, authorities will advise which colour zones need to evacuate.
Tsunami Although these evacuation zone maps have been specifically created for storm tide inundation, these same zones will be utilised in the unlikely event of a tsunami.