How can you avoid damage in a cyclone?
AS cyclone season approaches, Queensland research has identified an easy-to-install system that could prevent major damage during a cyclone.
The new report, commissioned in partnership with the James Cook University's Cyclone Testing Station, Suncorp and IAG, analysed strata and house property claims from Tropical Cyclones Marcia and Debbie to investigate how to make homes in North Queensland more resilient.
The report revealed 70 per cent of strata property claims examined included damage caused by water ingress, despite most properties withstanding severe structural damage.
David Henderson from the Cyclone Testing Station said the insights were beneficial for those living in cyclone-prone areas.
"Wind-driven rain is likely to enter through weep-holes or gaps around window seals or doors, under missing or damaged flashings and gutters, or through eaves - features relevant to all properties," Mr Henderson said.
"The water damage was largely caused by plasterboard wall linings and ceilings, floor coverings, electricity wiring, cabinetry and personal items.
"Damage ranged from two to 60 per cent of total claim costs."
A Wind Driven Rain Simulator was used to mimic real-life wind-driven rain to determine the most cost-effective measures for home owners to reduce water ingress.
"After testing several solutions, we found a cheap and easy way for home-owners to fend off water coming in through the windows and sliding doors: a strip of plastic sheet taped in the inside of the window," Mr Henderson said.
"The plastic sheet increased the height of the window sill, caught the water and allowed it to drain via the weep holes."
Suncorp CEO Insurance Gary Dransfield said the rain cyclones brought could be extreme and damaging to homes and communities.
"Water can wreak havoc in a cyclone - past events have found buildings that appeared visibly fine disguised significant interior damage caused by wind-driven rain throughout the home," Mr Dransfield said.
"These insights area call to action for residents about the importance of home maintenance and pre-cyclone preparations."
Mr Dransfield said preparation and home mitigation was the best way for people to prepare themselves, their loved ones and their homes against cyclones
"Now is the time for communities living in cyclone-prone regions to complete a thorough inspection of their property for any structural issues like cracked roof tiles or broken veranda posts, and non-structural elements like sealant around window sills."
IAG executive general manager short tail claims Steve Fitzpatrick said this simple mitigation initiative could not only help reduce the physical and financial costs of natural disasters, but the social and emotional impacts as well.