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The Forum > Article Comments > Itís time to narrowcast emergency and health warnings > Comments

Itís time to narrowcast emergency and health warnings : Comments

By Andrew Laming, published 14/2/2011

Your local video store can sms you if your DVD is overdue, but the government can't use mobile technologies to warn of impending disasters.

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Andrew,

It is grand to have such warning however the source of such warnings need to be much more accurate than was the case in Queensland this year.

Just assess the non prediction of the Toowoomba/Lockyer deluge, the over estimated predicted flood heights in Brisbane, and the lack of the really serious and widespread destruction after Yasi. According to Bligh it was to be 'the greatest natural disaster to hit Queensland'. Serious doubts are being raised, by professionals in the field, as to whether Yasi was a Cat 5 cyclone.

If you get it so wrong so often, and continually cry wolf, who is going to heed advise when it is given in the future?
Posted by keith, Monday, 14 February 2011 12:09:13 PM
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You can't change the outcome. A weather forecast is only good for ten minutes. How are you going to forward predict rising water from saturated ground. In any case it would not have altered the outcome.
Your best argument would be to come up with some solutions for whatever it is that you want.
Posted by 579, Monday, 14 February 2011 4:11:24 PM
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keith,
I take it you are not in the zone hit by Yasi. The best way I have heard it described is a 'nuclear agent-orange bomb attack'.
The place is devastated beyond recognition in places.
I have had to warn our adult children that they may miss the turn off from the highway to our place if they are not very careful. They agreed that they almost missed it.

Living in the area directly hit by Yasi, I have not heard any serious questioning of whether Yasi was a cat5. I did hear a bloke from Cairns who thought that there maybe was not enough rain for it to be a cat 5 - but he only got here a week after the event and his expertise is in road maintenance.

My family got sms messages and landline recorded messages telling people in low lying areas to vacate, the morning before Yasi hit.
Posted by Aka, Monday, 14 February 2011 10:22:26 PM
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Aka,

I'm sorry if your property is damaged, and no I don't live in The Cassowary coast.

Your house wouldn't still be where it is if it had been a cat 5.

You see your house is probably only built to survive cat 4 cyclone winds. Official Qld Building Code requires houses only to be built to survive a cat 4 cyclone.

The surge was nowhere near as large as was predicted and didn't happen over all the area predicted.

My info comes from the chappie who is doing the offical survey/assessment of the wind damage inflicted on buildings by Yasi.

Tell me if another cat 5 cyclone comes do you think your home might still survive?

regards Keith.

ps out of interest could you please tell me, in your opinion, how gusty were the winds and if there were many and how long were sustained blasts?
Posted by keith, Tuesday, 15 February 2011 11:27:48 AM
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Andrew Laming wrote 14 February 2011:

>Emergency Alert has sent out over half a million messages up and down the east coast, but little more than generalised weather alerts ...

The national system could be used for more localised messages, but there are limitations as to what information is avialable to send. We need to provide information to allow people to make decisions, not issue orders to them.

I subscribed to a free service which forwards warnings from BOM. But I have got several false alarms about flash flooding and severe hail. If too many such messages are sent to the general public they will tend to ignore the warning messages.

Messages could be localised to street level, but this would be of little value if we do not have a useful localised message to give. Similarly in terms of evacuations, there is not much value in such localisation, unless the evacuations are precisely centrally coordinated.

To a large extent we must give the general public and local emergency workers, information about what is happening (including what we don't know) and leave it to them to make decisions as to what to do.

The greater use of smart phones will help with this, as the phone can then scan the information avialable and display what is relevant to the individual.

The technology is not difficult to implement. It is something I have trained undergraduates in: http://www.tomw.net.au/technology/it/bushfire_warning_system/
Posted by tomw, Monday, 28 February 2011 7:25:52 AM
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