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What is a Tropical Cyclone?

Tropical cyclones affect the Top End of the Northern Territory from November to April.

They form and get their strength over warm ocean waters north of Australia, often building over days or weeks.

When tropical cyclones move towards land, they bring torrential rain and extreme weather conditions with them.

This extreme weather can cause flooding, storm surges and destructive winds that can reach up to 280km/h.

Cyclone alerts

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) issue Tropical Cyclone Advice when a cyclone is likely to cause winds above 62 km/h (gale force) within the next 48 hours.

  • A Tropical Cyclone Watch is issued when the onset of gales is expected within 48 hours, but not within 24 hours.
  • A Tropical Cyclone Warning is issued when the onset of gales is expected within 24 hours or are already occurring.

You can find a Tropical Cyclone Forecast Track Map on the BOM website.

Cyclone categories

The severity of a cyclone is described in the categories below:


Preparing for the Cyclone Season

Having a cyclone plan is essential in the Top End. It’s also crucial to make sure that all members of your household know the plan.

Here’s what you should think about when making your cyclone plan:

  • How will you communicate with your household, family and neighbours? This may be difficult before, during and after a cyclone if the power is down. Write down contact numbers and make sure you take them with you if you leave your home.
  • Who will pick up the children?
  • Who will pick up the emergency cyclone kit items?
  • Secure your home, or prepare to evacuate
  • Store or tie down all loose items in your outside your home
  • Store valuables in waterproof storage containers or bags
  • Listen to local advice on the radio and TV
  • Learn how and where to turn off power, gas and water supplies
  • Have a cyclone emergency kit ready at the beginning of the cyclone season

Emergency kit contents

  • battery-operated radio and spare batteries
  • torch, candles, waterproof matches and extra batteries
  • first-aid kit and any essential medicines
  • change of clothes, including closed in shoes
  • blankets, sleeping bags and pillows
  • essential toiletries, including sunscreen
  • facemasks, hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes
  • money, including change for phone calls
  • documents like birth and marriage certificates, driver’s licence, passport and insurance policies (store these in a waterproof bag or container)
  • strong and sealable plastic bags
  • mobile phone and charger
  • extra car and house keys
  • pet supplies
  • non-perishable foods and special foods for infants
  • 10 litres of bottled water per person
  • portable cooker and cooking equipment.

Do I stay in my home or go to a shelter?

It would be best if you had a plan for when there’s a cyclone approaching. Make sure your family recognises the standard emergency warning signal, which is broadcast via TV and radio when a cyclone is less than 12 hours away.

Consider whether you’ll stay at home or go to an emergency shelter. A list of public shelters can be found at, so make sure you’re familiar with your nearest one. If you’re leaving home, remember to switch off utilities like power, gas and water before you evacuate.

If you do decide to stay, the safest place in your house to shelter depends on the cyclone rating of your property. To find out more about sheltering in your house visit

Source: Secure NT - and Bureau of Meteorology -

Home and Contents Insurance

AANT offers building, contents and valuables insurance that can protect your property and belongings against major catastrophes, including cyclone, flood, fire, earthquake and tsunami. It also includes cover for things like theft, vandalism, water damage, lightning strike, falling tree, damage by animals, riot and accidental glass breakage.

Call our local team today for a quote on 8925 5901.



Insurance is issued and underwritten by QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited (ABN 78 003 191 035, AFSL 239545) (QBE). Automobile Association of Northern Territory Incorporated ABN 13 431 478 529 AR 433569 is an authorised representative of QBE and is authorised to distribute insurance on behalf of QBE. Any advice provided is general only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and may not be right for you. To decide if this product is right for you, please read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Financial Services Guide (FSG).

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