Keep­ing a weather eye

Some­one has to be on the lookout for the weather con­di­tions when Santa makes his run into town

Townsville Bulletin - - Weekend Extra -

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.

KZA29516

Me­te­o­rol­o­gist Greg Con­nor, who is work­ing this Christ­mas

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