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 hiking. It’s also a good idea to talk to local rangers to gain a clear picture of any safety issues in their local park.

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 Bureau of Meteorology phone app makes it easier and quicker to check Australia’s official weather forecasts. Get their phone app on Google Play or Apple.

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

Health conditions related to weather

See Hypothermia for health issues caused by bushwalking in extreme cold conditions.

See Heat-related health issues for problems caused by bushwalking in extreme heat.