Pacific cyclone season
Are you travelling during the cyclone season?
Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, United States, Taiwan, Fiji – what do these countries have in common?
These countries have all been hit by devastating cyclones. Only late last year, two people died while more than 2,000 had to be in evacuation centres as Tropical Cyclone Sarai moved through Fiji's south-east.
The Pacific cyclone season is usually between October and May. During this period, even small tropical storms can develop into major cyclones. Their direction and strength can change with little warning. Cyclones lead to landslides, mudslides and flash flooding causing extreme damage to infrastructure. This can cut off communications and access to transportation, emergency assistance, medical care, and food and water.
Cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons, monsoons and tornadoes are serious risks in some destinations. In others, it's severe winter weather you need to prepare for.
If you're travelling somewhere that experiences severe weather, be prepared and be informed.
Before your travel
If you plan to travel to an area that has recently been affected by severe weather, contact local tour operators, hotels and airlines about the condition of infrastructure and facilities in the area. Understanding safety procedures are vital to ensure you and your family are safe during a cyclone.
Our advice if you decide to travel during the cyclone season:
- Read the travel advice for each destination you’re visiting
- Subscribe to travel advice and bulletins
- Share your itinerary and contact details with loved ones
- Get travel insurance and make sure it covers trip cancellation or interruption in the event of a cyclone
- Be prepared to change tour travel plans on short notice
- Closely monitor media and local sources for weather forecasts
- Carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
- Follow the advice and instructions of local authorities
You can also bookmark these websites and stay up-to-date with cyclone forecasts and advice.
- Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
- The Fiji Meteorological Service
- Meteorological Service of New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea National Weather Service
- Meteo-France in French Polynesia
- Australian Bureau of Meteorology
- Joint Typhoon Warning Center
When you arrive
- Locate the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate
- Carry local emergency and embassy phone numbers in your wallet and programmed into your phone
- Familiarise yourself with local advice, including from your hotel, on what to do in the event of a natural disaster.
- Learn about your hotel or cruise ship's evacuation plans
What to do if you are stuck in a cyclone while overseas?
We all know it is best to avoid travelling during the cyclone seasons. Here is our advice if you get caught up in one:
- Closely monitor the local news for weather updates.
- Identify your local shelter.
- If you are on an island, heed all advice to return to the mainland before the boats stop running.
- Carry bottled water, some non-perishable food, a basic first-aid kit, a battery-operated radio and a torch
- Get cash from an ATM
- Carry your travel documents (passport, photo IDs) at all times or secure them in a safe, waterproof location
- Contact friends and family with regular updates about your situation
Flights in and out of affected areas could be delayed or suspended. Available flights may fill quickly. Contact your airline for the latest flight information.
The cyclone may also affect access to seaports in the region. In some areas, adequate shelter from a severe cyclone may not be available to all who choose to stay.
How to stay up to date
Subscribe to get an email when we update the travel advice for your destination. If you get a local SIM card over there, remember to update your number. Otherwise, you'll miss out on our SMS critical alerts in a crisis.
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Where to get help
During catastrophic storms, the ability of consular officials to help you may be limited. Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
Depending on what you need, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, travel agent, travel insurance provider, employer or airline. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. If you're unable to contact one in a consular emergency, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.