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BOM Shell: Brisbane Bureau Chief Rob Webb says Saturday's storm warnings were adequate


THE Weather Bureau's Queensland chief says Saturday's superstorm didn't meet warning parameters after complaints it failed to issue timely alert - but they'll review weekend decisions.

Regional director Rob Webb said because it was an unusual event that happened early in the morning and that they didn't think it was going to be a severe event.

"It just blew up on the city," he told The Courier-Mail after the press conference.

Mr Webb said as the storm was approaching it didn't meet the Bureau's parameters for issuing a storm warning.

"You aim to put out warnings ahead of the weather but it's not always possible. The forecaster made a call that this one would stay under the parameters and pass through".

Mr Webb denied staffing was an issue and that they had six staffers on both Saturday and Sunday.




Lightning over Brisbane City from Ascot hill.


Cr Quirk said the forecasting was either a feast or a famine with few warnings issued on Saturday while dozens were issued on Sunday.

Mr Webb told ABC breakfast radio this morning he had full confidence in the team but would be reviewing the weekend's forecast decisions to learn from them.

"We review those decisions so we can learn to make best decisions for the next one. What we don't want to do is reach for the warning trigger for every thunderstorm" he said.

"We focus more attention on the point when a storm gets to the point where it gets to the point where it causes damage."

"We will go back and look at those decisions we made and we won't just be moving on. We'll be watching it closely."

Mr Webb said the Bureau watches the weather every six minutes, and would have been weighing up whether to issue a message "as the community [was] prepared already".

"There is a lot of messaging out in the community that the weather would be bad; we don't want to warn for every thunderstorm that would lead to complete complacency in the community," he said.

He said that the message he wanted to get out was that, even without the warnings from BOM, thunderstorms can be very dangerous.

"Once we are forecasting thunderstorms, people should be aware that they can change in their structure fairly quickly and really need to be keeping an eye on the environment, as well keeping an eye on our website for warnings," he said.
 
 
19.11.12
 
 
COMMENT:  On their first day of lectures, any student of Meteorology 101 would have known from the radar image below there was a massive storm approaching Ipswich and Brisbane.  Have a close look at this radar image released by the Brisbane Bureau of Meteorology at 10.12 am on Saturday:
 
 
It clearly shows a massive storm front stretching from Wivenhoe Dam to Harrisville which was about to hit Ipswich before moving quickly towards Brisbane.
 
It was published on Paul Tully's Facebook and Twitter sites at 10.21 am to his 2500 followers.
 
But the Weather Bureau did not issue a warning until 10.50 am - AFTER the storm had hit the heart of Brisbane.
 
Rob Webb
Rob Webb can sugar-coat the Bureau's hopeless efforts all he likes but at the the end of the day, it was a pretty poor performance.
 
He denies the Bureau was short-staffed, so what was the root cause of the problem?
 
The above image is proof positive that the Bureau failed to act when it should have.
 
Come Sunday after BOM was caught short by The Sunday Mail's revelation of its terrible performance, it started issuing numerous alerts recommending the use of the Standard Emergency Signal across all Brisbane media outlets.
 
Rob - much too late, but at least it was a start!
 
Even Kevin Rudd was prepared to say sorry - maybe you could do the same to try to win back the hearts and minds of the people of Queensland.