Weather bureau under fire for cyclone response
THE Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) came under fire when Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and Local Government Minister David Crisafulli visited Airlie Beach in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Dylan on Friday.
At a press conference near Airlie Lagoon, both politicians expressed concerns about the timing and accuracy of information delivered to the public by the BOM.
“When I went to bed in Townsville at 10 o’clock, the cyclone at that stage was projected to come in over the towns of Ayr and Home Hill and when I woke up at 5am... I was frankly surprised to see that, as the crow flies, it was crossing the coast 140km to the south, so things did change overnight and I think in this day and age we need to ensure that people get the most accurate and detailed information as soon as possible,” Mr Newman said.
Mr Crisafulli was a little more blunt in his assessment of the situation, saying the BOM’s response was lazy and incompetent.
“This here was a dress rehearsal for an event which will be a much bigger one in the future and the Bureau of Meteorology left their costume in the cloakroom,” Mr Crisafulli said.
“They went to sleep and the people I represent were left vulnerable and we’re not going to let them get away with that.” Mr Crisafulli said claims that the bureau was under-resourced were “a cop-out”.
“What sort of resources does it take to click a mouse a few times to provide information in real time,” he asked.
“This is not about resources – this is about a culture and the culture went wrong.”
Queensland regional director for BOM, Rob Webb, said he was surprised by the criticism, claiming the relevant communities had been adequately warned.
He said the bureau upgraded its warnings from six to three hours earlier than normal and issued a warning at 2am before the cyclone's 3.30am crossing of the coast, with a further update at 5am.
Nonetheless, the bureau has now committed to issuing hourly cyclone warning updates for all cyclones crossing the coast, as opposed to the previous policy of only issuing three-hourly updates for category one or two cyclones.
Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said he was pleased to see the bureau had responded to concerns.
INFORMED: Whitsunday mayor Jennifer Whitney with Local Government Minister David Crisafulli and Queensland Premier Campbell Newman in Airlie Beach on Friday.