Severe Weather Conditions

Severe Weather Conditions
Knowledge on weather conditions in an intended destination is essential to avoid hassles and disappointments during the outing. Even within normal weather patterns and for not-too adventurous travels, you will also need to pack the right clothing, shoes and relevant protective gears for the duration of the trip. An umbrella is an all-time necessity, even if it is expected to be dry weather - it will protect you from the hot sun! Expected seasonal heavy snow and rain falls are particularly worth noting as they will hinder road, sea and air travel thus causing delays and cancellations.

It is best to avoid seasons or times when severe weather conditions are expected or predicted in affected regions. Always check for the latest information on the destinations up to the time of travel when there is still opportunity to adjust your packing or reschedule the itinerary or even cancel the trip if the risks are too high. Road, jetty and airport closures can completely spoil your holiday if you are not caught in the middle of a snow or rain storm or an avalanche!

While heavy snow falls in mountainous areas are particularly dangerous to traffic, tropical cyclones found in many parts of the world are equally dangerous. They are less predictable in their path and power of destruction. They are variously called depending on their location and strength - hurricane (in North America), typhoon (in Asia), tropical storm, cyclonic storm and tropical depression. They often produce winds in excess of 200 km/h and rain storms, causing extensive damage to property both on land and at sea. Deaths do occur as a result of drowning, collapsed buildings, mudslides and debris turned missiles by powerful winds.

If you plan to go to cyclone prone areas, it is recommended that you do the following :
  • Seek prior information and advice from local tour operators and hotels on conditions of infrastructure and facilities there.
  • Ensure you are sufficiently covered by insurance, read the fine prints and find out what circumstances and activities are not included.
  • Take necessary precautions. Carry supplies of bottled water, non-perishable food items, required medication, basic first-aid kit and a battery-operated radio. If you are fortunate, you may have access for your cell phone.
  • Carry your identification documents at all times - passports, picture IDs, etc. or secure them in a safe, waterproof location.
  • For all important documents carried along with you, seal them in waterproof covers to ensure that they remain dry even if you get wet.
  • Update friends and relatives on your location and welfare.
  • Inform your country’s foreign office – embassy or consulate if there is one on your whereabouts and how to contact you and your family should an emergency situation arise.
If you are caught in an impending cyclone invasion, you can do the following :
  • Identify your local shelter. Contact your airline immediately for the latest flight information - scheduled flights may be delayed or suspended and available ones could fill up very quickly.
  • Check on evacuation plans if you are on board boats and staying in hotels especially in coastal areas.
  • Closely monitor the local media for weather updates and information about preparations being made and follow advice from local authorities.
Table on some guidance to cyclone seasons around the world :
Region Cyclone season
  Start End
Northwest Pacific April January
South Indian October May
Northeast Pacific May November
North Atlantic June November
Australian Southwest Pacific October May
North Indian April December

Please note that cyclones will occur even if it is ‘out’ of the cyclone season noted above.

Table on resources where information on tropical cyclones and other severe weather conditions are available :
Region Agency
Northern Atlantic National Hurricane Centre
North Eastern Pacific National Hurricane Centre
Caribbean Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency
North Central Pacific Central Pacific Hurricane Centre
North Western Pacific Japan Meteorological Agency
Northern Indian Indian Meteorological Department
South Western Indian Meteo-France
South and South Western Pacific The Fiji Meteorological Service
Meteorological Service of New Zealand
Papua New Guinea National Weather Service
Meteo-France in French Polynesia
Australian Bureau of Meteorology
Naval Pacific Meteorology and Oceanography Centre
South Eastern Indian Australian Bureau of Meteorology

The information and advise are intended to be a general guide for travellers only. While every care has been taken to prepare the information and make recommendations or suggestions, neither the publisher of nor its management or staff are responsible for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained therein.
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