From the ed­i­tor's desk

Whitsunday Times - - WHITSUNDAY VIEWS -

JUST be­fore Cy­clone Dy­lan crossed the coast last Thurs­day night, there was a lot of con­fu­sion about storm surge zones. This hap­pened af­ter ev­ery­one re­ceived alert mes­sages on their mo­bile phones and their home phones.

There was panic in some sec­tors of the com­mu­nity as res­i­dents tried to ac­cess the Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil’s web­site to check the storm surge maps as rec­om­mended by the alert mes­sages.

No-one could ac­cess the maps and then peo­ple took to so­cial me­dia to ex­press con­cern and try to get some an­swers.

Whit­sun­day Mayor Jen­nifer Whit­ney has since said that coun­cil would work with Ge­o­graph­i­cal In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem (GIS) spe­cial­ists and the Queens­land Govern­ment to im­prove the map­ping which drove the re­gion’s emer­gency alert sys­tem. It is ab­so­lutely im­per­a­tive that this hap­pens.

There has also been crit­i­cism of the Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy by the Premier Camp­bell New­man, Lo­cal Govern­ment Min­is­ter David Crisa­fulli and Fed­eral Mem­ber for Daw­son Ge­orge Chris­tensen. Mr Crisa­fulli went as far as de­scrib­ing the BOM’s re­sponse as lazy and in­com­pe­tent.

This cy­clone caused very lit­tle dam­age across the re­gion and all res­i­dents who have lived here for more than a cou­ple of years have prob­a­bly been through much worse.

How­ever, we should never be com­pla­cent. One of the rea­sons this cy­clone was such a worry on Thurs­day night was be­cause it was coin­cid­ing with king tides.

Most of the panic and con­fu­sion was caused af­ter peo­ple re­ceived the alert mes­sages. If these mes­sages are go­ing to be sent, they should be ac­cu­rate and if they rec­om­mend peo­ple check a web­site, it should be ac­ces­si­ble. Given that there was min­i­mal dam­age caused by Cy­clone Dy­lan, this can now act as a re­hearsal for the au­thor­i­ties but they should cer­tainly get it right next time.

Leanne Aber­nethy

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