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Joint media release
Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders
&
Bob Baldwin MP
Federal Member for Paterson

27 February 2006

New weather services for lower Hunter Valley


The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary with responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and Bob Baldwin MP, Federal Member for Paterson today launched a new weather service that will give residents of the Lower Hunter Valley area better online access and more frequent updates to thunderstorm warnings.

The new service is an extension of the year old Sydney service – making the Lower Hunter one of the first regional areas to benefit from the new computer based forecasting system.

Mr Hunt said one of the benefits of the new system was how easy it was for households to access information in real time about a pending severe thunderstorm and what action to take to protect home and property.

“The new graphical warnings complement existing text warning and ensure people receive as much detail as possible, in as short a time as possible, about severe weather warnings, Mr Hunt said

“This will enable residents to better prepare for impending severe weather and prevent emergency situations.

“I congratulate Mr Baldwin, the Federal Member for Paterson, for his commitment to improved weather services in the Lower Hunter area,” Mr Hunt said.

Federal Member for Paterson Bob Baldwin MP said he was pleased to see a regional area benefit from the same forecasting technology that is in use in larger cities.

“Local communities in the Lower Hunter Valley will now be able to receive hourly updates online in severe weather conditions,” Mr Baldwin said.

“When logging on, the site will show maps of areas likely to be affected and also indicate the direction of the severe storms.”

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. The system in Sydney is now operational and has proved useful to both local communities and the Emergency Services.

The new services, available from the 23 rd of February, are made possible by imagery from the Newcastle Radar at Lemon Tree Passage, installed in 2003 under a Federal Government-funded $62.2 million upgrade of Bureau radars nation-wide.

Online services available at www.bom.gov.au/weather/nsw.

Media enquiries:
Kristy McSweeney (Mr Hunt’s office) 0415 740 722
Anna Fitzgerald (Mr Baldwin’s office) 0417 490 821

Commonwealth of Australia