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

15 March 2006

New graphical severe thunderstorm warning system for Victoria

The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary with ministerial responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology today announced that people in Victoria will now be able to call up new graphical severe thunderstorm warnings.

Mr Hunt said the easily-understood new graphical warnings would complement existing text warnings and would help people to take prompt and appropriate action.

"Forecasters issuing warnings for severe thunderstorms can now provide more detail, more quickly, to those with internet access," Mr Hunt said.

"Maps show areas likely to be affected and also indicate the direction of the storm. Similar systems are already in place in the Greater Sydney and Brisbane areas and have been very well received."

Mr Hunt said the new service has been made available in time for the Commonwealth Games.

"The Bureau has been working on installing and upgrading new technology in time for the Commonwealth Games.

"It has recently installed a new automatic weather station at St Kilda Harbour primarily for mariners in the area, but brought forward the installation so it could be used to track wind speed for cycling and other weather dependent events being held around the harbour.

"The graphical severe thunderstorm warning system will also provide an improved warning service to those participating in and attending events.

"All of these improvements in weather technology will remain in place after the Games to benefit the people of Melbourne," he said

The system was developed by the Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre in Melbourne in conjunction with Bureau forecasters in Sydney, and the NSW State Emergency Service, and has been further refined for the Victorian service.

The new graphical system will be available from 15 March 2006 on the Bureau website at Text-based warnings are available over the phone for the cost of a local call on 1300 659 217.

Media Contact:
Kristy McSweeney (Mr Hunt's Office) 0415 740 722

Commonwealth of Australia