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Brisbane Bureau of Meteorology “asleep on the job” as super storm cell hit Brisbane and Ipswich: Call for public apology

BOM weather radar image published on Cr Paul Tully’s Facebook page at 10.21am yesterday, 30 minutes before the official warning came, clearly showing a violent storm front over Ipswich.

The Brisbane Bureau of Meteorology was asleep on the job as yesterday’s massive super storm cell passed across southeast Queensland, according to Ipswich councillor Paul Tully.
Cr Tully has called on the Bureau to apologise to the people of Brisbane and Ipswich for its “monumental failure” to issue a timely storm warning.
Yesterday’s storm saw 11,000 homes lose power with violent winds uprooting trees and causing millions of dollars damage across the two cities.
“They must have been enjoying a long morning tea or an early lunch not to realise the intensity of the approaching storm.”
Cr Tully has called on the Bureau’s head office to launch an inquiry into yesterday’s fiasco which saw more than a million people in Brisbane and Ipswich with no advance warning of the approaching super storm.
Cr Tully issued his own alert to his 1600 followers on Facebook at 10.21am:  “It’s coming.  Moving now towards Ipswich’s eastern suburbs” after observing a line of storms on a 50km front from Wivenhoe Dam south to Harrisville.
Cr Tully’s alert, 30 minutes before the Bureau’s official warning, included a weather bureau radar image taken at 10.16am showing the highly intense storm centred between Amberley and the Ipswich CBD, moving east towards Brisbane
At 10.35am, Cr Tully issued another alert that lightning had hit a crane at the Ipswich Hospital in the heart of the city which prompted several fire units to attend the scene.
As the violent storm moved across Ipswich into Brisbane’s western suburbs, the Bureau had still not issued an official warning when the storm hit inner-city Brisbane at 10.45am.
At 10.50am, the Bureau finally issued a severe thunderstorm warning to Brisbane’s media outlets for damaging winds in Brisbane, Redland, North Stradbroke Is and parts of Logan, Gold Coast and Moreton Bay council areas.
Cr Tully said this was too little too late with residents given no time to batten down before the storm hit.
“The Bureau’s claim they were caught by surprise is completely inconsistent with their own radar image in the hour before the storm struck Brisbane.
“Blind Freddy could have seen what was happening but the Bureau completely failed the people of southeast Queensland.
“My own Facebook alert was based on BOM’s own radar images on their website.
“Social media seem to be doing a better job than the weather bureau in predicting major storm events.
“If this performance was anything to go by, the public can have no faith in the Brisbane Bureau of Meteorology in the lead-up to summer which officially commences in 13 days.
Cr Tully likened yesterday’s fiasco to the April 14, 1999 hailstorm in Sydney which caused $1.7 billion damage when the Sydney Bureau of Meteorology failed to issue a storm warning for the Sydney metropolitan area, wrongly believing the storm would head out to sea.
“There must be something seriously wrong at the Brisbane weather bureau office.
“They are either understaffed or overworked.
“There have been reports of major staff cuts at the Brisbane Bureau in the past couple years and this is the result.
“A year ago, their annual report revealed the Queensland office of the bureau lost 15 ‘professional’ and ‘technical’ staff from June 2010 to June 2011.
“The Bureau now has a duty to reveal how many staff were on duty on Saturday morning and why they made their greatest botch-up for decades.