Keeping a weather eye
Someone has to be on the lookout for the weather conditions when Santa makes his run into town
GREG Connor will be working similar hours to Santa Claus this Christmas Eve. Dr Connor is rostered to clock on at the Bureau of Meteorology at 7pm tomorrow and log off at 7am.
One of five meteorologists in the Townsville weather office, he plans to have lunch with his wife and children before returning to work at 7 o’clock, Christmas night.
‘‘I’ll have to sleep for a little while, but my wife and kids will wake me about lunch time for a few more hours of Christmas, ’’ he said.
‘‘I am sure there will be excitement in the house, but I will work around it.’’
He’s not forecasting much excitement at work, with no real prospect of rain and a better than 90 per cent probability of hot and humid weather.
A Christmas cyclone, such as Althea in Townsville in 1971 or Tracey in Darwin, 1974, was at very long odds.
But there was always a chance of heavy weather in the tropics in December.
‘‘I have worked many a Christmas shift and some of them can be quite busy,’’ Dr Connor said.
‘‘There is quite a history of tropical cyclones crossing the coast around Christmas.’’
Cyclone Joy hit Cape Bowling Green on Boxing Day 1990, on one of his first shifts in Townsville.
This cyclone was rated as a category four system off the coast on December 24, but was downgraded to a category two after reaching land.
Typically, Townsville’s meteorologists are busiest from 3am to 6am, while preparing daily forecasts for 20 airports throughout the North.
Dr Connor enjoys his work, which he says combines his interests in science and public service.
‘‘It’s a good mix of science and people overall — I’ve never felt bad about coming to work,’’ he said.
‘‘I don’t know whether my wife is equally excited as I am — it’s the weekends and family occasions that you miss out on.
He and his wife, Lindsay McFarlane, have two children Ellen Connor, 13 and Jack Connor,11.
‘‘I think in the early days I used to tell them I could track Santa Claus coming towards Australia on radar,’’ he said of his Christmas Eve night shift.
Meteorologist Greg Connor, who is working this Christmas