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Weather Hazards

Lightning thunderstorm storm weather hazard

The weather is one of the major risks to bushwalkers. Its effects can be widespread and catastrophic. Bushwalkers should always check weather forecasts before any trip to avoid becoming involved in an incident.National parks close for a variety of reasons including bushfire, hazard reduction burns, flooding, storm damage, pest control, infrastructure damage and bush regeneration. Check with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) for park alerts or closures before you set out.It’s also a good idea to talk to local rangers to gain a clear picture of any safety issues in their local park. Find NPWS Visitor Centre phone numbers using the interactive map on the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage website.

Where can I find weather warnings?

The Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology posts nationwide rain radar, satellite images, weather  maps, tide predictions, sea temperature, tsunami  warnings and cyclone maps.

The new Bureau of Meteorology mobile weather website makes it easier and quicker to check Australia’s official weather forecasts. Access it from your mobile device on http://m.bom.gov.au/

What to do in a flood

  • Change your route before departure if there has been heavy rain in catchment areas
  • Do not enter canyons if rain is predicted or it has been raining
  • Be aware that rain in upstream areas may flood a canyon unexpectedly, even though it is not raining in the area you are exploring
  • Check with local authorities if there is a possibility that bridges may have been damaged by flood waters
  • Wait for a swollen river to subside, or use an alternative route
  • Do not cross a flooded river
  • Don’t camp in dry creek beds as they can unexpectedly flood

What to do in an electrical storm

  • Avoid high ground, isolated objects such as a tree in a clearing, overhanging cliffs or caves
  • Insulate yourself from the ground by sitting on your pack
  • Don’t sit in contact with group members

Hypothermia

  • Hypothermia is when your body loses heat faster than it can produce it, causing a dangerously low body temperature.
  • In mild hypothermia there is shivering and mental confusion. For severe hypothermia, shivering may stop, and there may be difficulty speaking, clumsiness, drowsiness and eventually loss of consciousness.
  • Contributors to hypothermia include inadequate clothing, water immersion, wind chill, alcohol use and more.
  • Hypothermia is a life threatening condition and should be treated as a medical emergency.
  • Treatment is to warm the person up slowly by methods such as moving them out of the cold, removing wet clothing, covering them with blankets, share body heat by keeping close, and providing warm beverages if the person is awake and alert. Do not apply direct heat like hot water or radiant heaters as this can damage the skin.

Hyperthermia

  • Hyperthermia is when your body produces or absorbs heat faster than it can dissipate it, causing a dangerously high body temperature.
  • In mild hyperthermia the symptoms are mainly a dry, hot skin, with no sweat. This may progress to confusion, slurred speech, nausea, flushed skin, rapid breathing, and racing heart rate.
  • Contributors to hyperthermia include exposure to a hot environment, strenuous activity, wearing excess clothing, drinking alcohol, becoming dehydrated, high humidity or a combination of these.
  • Hyperthermia requires emergency treatment to avoid damage to the brain, heart, kidneys and muscles.
  • Treatment is to cool the person down quickly by methods such as immersion in cold water, evaporation cooling, and applying ice packs to the groin, neck, back and armpits.