This is an example of the kinds of warnings our Weather Bureau put out when there is a winter storm on the way:
The passage of the strong cold front Tuesday evening and early Wednesday morning may cause LOCALISED DANGEROUS GUSTS in excess of 125 kilometres per hour that could cause SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE OR DESTRUCTION TO HOMES AND PROPERTY. Thunderstorms and moderate to heavy falls are also possible.
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services advises that people should:
- Store or weigh down loose objects such as outdoor furniture.
- Have an emergency kit with a battery operated radio, torch, spare batteries and first aid kit.
- Ensure pets and animals are in a safe area.
- Move vehicles under cover.
- Boat owners should securely moor their boats.
- Campers should find shelter away from trees, power lines, storm water drains and streams.
When these are issued I am sure glad that my dogs are inside dogs. It means that I don't have to rush home from work in an attempt to beat the storm and let them inside. I don't have to worry about the fences blowing over and the dogs bolting.
We do live in quite a temperate climate here in Perth, and people used to be very blase about these warnings from the Bureau. That was until a so called 'Super Cell' thunderstorm hit Perth in 2011. I was in my CBD office at the time, and we watched out of the windows in wonder as the landscape was quickly obscured by the clouds, heavy rain and massive hail stones pummelled the building. The building got out of it with one cracked window and some minor car park basement flooding. A lot of damage occurred elsewhere though, and the roads were at a standstill as local flooding caused cars to stall. The best news footage from the day was a fellow on a motorcycle, head down, taking the blows from the hail stones on the top of his helmet. His jacket was being pummelled. I bet he was glad for his protective gear that day.
Knowing the dogs were safe inside the house allowed me to stay at work until the worst of the storm had passed.
Every day after we have a storm there is a rush on the 'Lost and Found' pages on Facebook - the vast majority of these dogs find their way home, but there is always a possibility that some won't.
I just hope the habit Australians seem to have of keeping their dogs out in the backyard 24 hours a day is slowly dying out.