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Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders

13 January 2006

New forecast product proves a cyclone season success


Hon Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary with ministerial responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said today that the Bureau's latest forecasting technology had been well received this cyclone season and particularly during Cyclone Clare that crossed the North West Coast of Western Australia on January 10 this year.

Clare was the first Tropical cyclone to impact the Australian mainland for the 2005-06 cyclone season and reached gusts estimated at up to 195km/hr.

"The Bureau of Meteorology this season introduced the Tropical Cyclone Forecast Track Map - a graphical product that visually shows the forecast track of the cyclone, the extent of the destructive winds as well as the uncertainty in the positioning of the cyclone centre.

The new graphical product is an addition to the already very effective overall Australian Tropical Cyclone Warning Service and it is a testament to the effectiveness of the Bureau of Meteorology's services and preparedness work by the local community that cyclone Clare - a severe category three tropical cyclone - resulted only in minor structural damage and not loss of life.

The need for timely and easily understandable information is very important when life and property are at risk and having an accessible visual display of the cyclone's activity contributed to the northwest communities preparations for the effects of cyclone Clare," Mr Hunt said.

Mr Hunt said the Bureau's website is among the most accessed Australian government sites in Australia and people are increasingly obtaining their weather information through the Internet.

"During Tropical Cyclone Clare the Tropical Cyclone Threat Map received nearly 400,000 hits, the new Forecast Track Map received over 240,000 hits and radar imagery hits in the cyclone area had up to a 16 fold increase in public demand.

The Bureau's web site is currently highlighting Tropical Cyclone Warning Services on its home page and Mr Hunt recommended that people, particularly those living in tropical areas, take time to familiarise themselves with its contents.

The Bureau of Meteorology's website can be accessed at www.bom.gov.au

Media enquiries:
Kristy McSweeney (Mr Hunt's office) 0415 740 722

Commonwealth of Australia