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Bureau hits back over weekend storm alert

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THE Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has hit back at criticism from Ipswich Councillor Paul Tully that it didn't issue timely storm warnings over the weekend.

BoM regional director Rob Webb said a storm that hit Ipswich Saturday morning didn't reach the right criteria to warrant a warning, despite the storm cutting power to thousands and lightning igniting a crane and house.

Nonetheless, Mr Webb announced on ABC breakfast radio yesterday that he would review the weekend's forecast decisions.

"BoM doesn't aim to issue warnings for every thunderstorm, but uses thresholds to ensure there isn't complacency in the community due to over-warning," Mr Webb said.

"Thresholds include expected winds of 90kmh or more, hailstones of greater than 2cm in diameter, very heavy rainfall - heavy enough to cause flash flooding - or tornado to issue a warning. Early observations indicate Saturday's storms reached the lower end of these thresholds, with winds of 90kmh reported in some parts."

Cr Tully said an unfulfilled warning was better than no warning at all.

"People could see the storms in the sky, but there was no specific warning of potential of flashing flooding or for people to put their cars under cover," Cr Tully said.

Cr Tully said general warnings issued Friday didn't specify when people should seek shelter or prepare for particular conditions.

"All they (BoM) need to do is say they stuffed up Saturday... they need to reassure people they'll be on the ball next time," he said.

Mr Webb said Saturday's storm intensified as it neared Brisbane.

"It started to show signs of severe storm characteristics and forecasters issued warnings," he said.

Mr Webb said BoM did detect the "underlying meteorological conditions to indicate severe storms could develop over the weekend" Thursday morning and passed the warning on to media.

Topics:  bom, bureau of meteorology, paul tully, storm warning


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