Dookie part of alert sys­tem

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS -

Dookie will play a part in a new $15 mil­lion thun­der­storm asthma mon­i­tor­ing, pre­dic­tion and alert sys­tem.

The sys­tem is de­signed to give Vic­to­ri­ans an early warn­ing of pos­si­ble epi­demic thun­der­storm asthma events this grass pollen sea­son.

To sup­port the sys­tem, the Vic­to­rian Govern­ment ex­panded pollen data col­lec­tion sites with new pollen traps in Hamil­ton, Creswick, Bendigo, Dookie and Churchill, in ad­di­tion to ex­ist­ing traps in Parkville, Bur­wood and Gee­long.

Mark­ing the start of the grass pollen sea­son, Health Min­is­ter Jill Hen­nessy launched the Vic­to­rian Govern­ment’s new epi­demic thun­der­storm asthma fore­cast­ing sys­tem to bet­ter pre­dict and re­spond to large-scale emer­gen­cies such as thun­der­storm asthma.

Peo­ple with asthma or hay fever are par­tic­u­larly at risk of thun­der­storm asthma, and for many it can be sud­den, se­ri­ous and life threat­en­ing.

The govern­ment part­nered with the Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy, the Univer­sity of Mel­bourne, Deakin Univer­sity and other re­search or­gan­i­sa­tions to de­velop the sta­teof-the-art epi­demic thun­der­storm asthma fore­cast­ing sys­tem — one of the first in the world.

The new fore­cast­ing sys­tem will fore­cast the risk of epi­demic thun­der­storm asthma, which is trig­gered by high grass pollen lev­els and a cer­tain type of thun­der­storm.

The fore­cast­ing sys­tem con­sid­ers grass pollen fore­casts, weather ob­ser­va­tions and data in­clud­ing wind changes, tem­per­a­ture, rain­fall and grass cov­er­age.

It will then iden­tify the risk of epi­demic thun­der­storm asthma us­ing a traf­fic light scale — green for low, orange for mod­er­ate, and red for high — and trig­ger warn­ings if re­quired.

The fore­cast­ing sys­tem will run from Oc­to­ber 1 un­til the end of De­cem­ber, the typ­i­cal Vic­to­rian grass pollen sea­son.

■ To ac­cess the fore­casts, Vic­to­ri­ans should download the Vic Emer­gency App or visit www.emer­gency.vic.gov.au/pre­pare

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