From the editor's desk
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.