Lack of weather radars affected Northwest flood response
THE LACK of weather radar services in northwest Queensland impacted flood response activities, a major review into the catastrophe has found.
Researchers for the Inspector-General for Emergency Management monsoonal trough review found there were challenges in planning for the February flood event due to a lack of weather radar services in some locations, limiting the ability to predict rainfall, impact and response activities.
"The Office was told the establishment of permanent weather radar stations in the North West between Mount Isa and Townsville could provide some benefit in forecasting future events," the report stated.
The Federal Government has since committed funding to improve weather monitoring facilities, which will include new radars at Maxwelton (near Julia Creek) and Charters Towers.
A number of councils also experienced issues with flood warning infrastructure, including rain gauges being damage due to flooding, lack of infrastructure to provide adequate warnings, inaccurate readings or loss of communications.
"There were also issues arising from the reliance on reading manual gauges," the report stated.
"For example, local councils noted concern with having to deploy staff in adverse weather conditions and potentially exposing them to danger.
"This resulted in reporting delays and hampered situational awareness in some areas."
In total 500,000 cattle and 30,000 sheep were killed in the northwest. 800 properties were affected.
An estimated 10,000km of fencing, enough to fence the distance from Brisbane to New Delhi, was lost.
AgForce estimates the cost to cattle producers to exceed $1 billion.
"The effects of the event will be ongoing and have caused a huge reduction in breeding stock which will have long-term consequences," the report stated.
"Entire generations of genetics have been lost."