The Bureau of Meteorology has defended the timeliness of its cyclone advice, after the ABC raised concerns about delays.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) says it didn’t have the resources to issue a specific warning about Cyclone Dylan crossing the north Queensland coast.
The category two storm made landfall near Hideaway Bay, between Bowen and Airlie Beach, about 3.30am (AEST) on Friday.
But the bureau didn’t update its formal cyclone advice to reflect that until just before 5am (AEST).
Senior forecaster Brett Harrison explained that anyone watching the bureau’s live radar would have seen, in real time, the storm making landfall.
He also said bureau staff had done a series of media interviews about the cyclone crossing over land, and pointed out that the bureau had been warning for days that the storm was on its way.
But he said it would be nice if the bureau had the capacity to issue formal advice more frequently than the three-hourly cycle used during the latest cyclone event.
“Ideally we would love to issue more regular warnings, particularly when it is a significant time in terms of having it crossing the coast,” he told the ABC.
“Unfortunately we don’t have the resources to issue those sort of warnings more regularly than that.”
The ABC said the delay in updating the official advice meant some of its stations in the cyclone zone were reading from an out-of-date alert.
Just before 5am they were relying on a 2am alert that still positioned the cyclone offshore.
BoM’s regional weather services manager Richard Wardle said lessons could be learned from the incident.
“If there is confusion in the community it may be that there’s an expectation of having a warning issued as soon as the tropical cyclone crosses the coast,” he said.
“That’s not actually the current level of service that we provide, but it’s something that we can look at.”
ABC presenter Spencer Howson said newsreaders had no choice but to read the earlier warning.
“Well over an hour after it crossed the coast, they could do nothing but read from what was essentially an out-of-date warning,” he said.
Premier Campbell Newman says he’s concerned about the delay and has approached the federal government about more funding for the bureau.