The findings of a review of tropical cyclone warnings will be announced in Brisbane today, with an increase to hourly updates for Category 2 tropical cyclones in the coming season, additional warnings as tropical cyclones approach and cross the coast and flash warnings for unexpected change in the forecast track or intensity of a tropical cyclone.
“Our government considers public confidence in the essential services provided by the Bureau of Meteorology to be paramount,” said Senator Simon Birmingham, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment.
“The Bureau has undertaken widespread stakeholder consultation as part of the Review of the effectiveness of Category 1 and 2 Tropical Cyclone Warning update arrangements.
“The review found broad satisfaction with the services provided by the Bureau, but also recommended a number of improvements for the dissemination of information on tropical cyclones.
“To ensure the Bureau continues to do all that is reasonably possible to assist in the protection of life and property, all of these recommendations will be implemented.”
Queensland Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services, Jack Dempsey, said it was important to build community resilience and communicate the threat from tropical cyclones to emergency management agencies and the public as quickly as possible.
“Our Emergency Services have close links with the Bureau of Meteorology, and regularly review their procedures for continuous improvement in public safety outcomes,” said Mr Dempsey.
“Getting accurate information to Queensland families as quickly as possible will ensure their safety when disasters strike.
“I am pleased to announce the Queensland Government has provided funding in the 2014-15 financial year for a Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist to work within the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services State Disaster Coordination Centre. This will strengthen the flow of information about severe weather and help ensure emergency managers across the state have the information they need for effective planning and response.”
The review has been overseen by Bureau of Meteorology Deputy Director Hazards, Warnings and Forecasts Dr Ray Canterford, and led by Regional Director for Western Australia, Mike Bergin.
During April and May stakeholder consultation meetings were held in Darwin, Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns and Perth across police, emergency services, media and political representatives.
Dr Canterford recognised the extraordinary commitment of staff in the Bureau in delivering forecasting and warning services around the country, and around the clock.
“The Bureau has agreed standard operating procedures for all of its services. These changes in operations reflect our responsiveness to meet increasing demand for services and changing community needs and expectations,” said Dr Canterford.
“The Review also noted that we intend to increase our use of social media to enhance situational awareness, however the Bureau’s website will remain the most comprehensive source of official warnings, forecasts and weather information.”
Tropical cyclone categories range from 1 to 5. Category 5 is the strongest, and cause widespread destruction with average maximum winds in excess of 200km/h. Category 2 cyclones may still cause significant damage to signs, trees and caravans, heavy damage to crops and risk of power failure with average maximum winds in the rage of 90 to 125km/h. Category 1 cyclones may cause negligible house damage with maximum winds in the range of 63 to 90km/h.
For further information the Review of the effectiveness of Category 1 and 2 Tropical Cyclone Warning Update Arrangements can be found on the Bureau’s website: http://www.bom.gov.au/inside/cyclone-review.shtml