Reliability of BOM Services in Coffs Harbour

31 Mar 17

• The Bureau of Meteorology website reported no rainfall at all in Coffs Harbour yesterday even though it rained all day
• The responsible Minister has been asked to investigate
• Accurate rainfall data is vital for public safety and emergency service planning

Nationals Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker has written to the Minister responsible for the Bureau of Meteorology seeking answers about why the BOM weather station in Coffs Harbour was not reporting rainfall data accurately during the rain event caused by ex-tropical cyclone Debbie.

Mr Hartsuyker said timely and accurate rainfall data is vital in a region like Coffs Harbour which is at high risk of flash flooding and inundation.

“The official Bureau website was reporting that Coffs Harbour received no rain yesterday, when it very clearly was pouring all day,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“Some locations on the North Coast received hundreds of millimeters of rain in a short timeframe. On the Coffs Coast locals did not have any data on how much rain had fallen.

“The Coffs Coast is at high risk of flooding and inundation in heavy rain events, so it is vital that emergency services, residents, and farmers have accurate and timely rainfall data to help with planning.

“I have written to the Minister seeking his assistance in ensuring that the Coffs Harbour BOM weather station will provide accurate, reliable, and timely data in the future.

“I have also asked the Minister to look into local concerns about the accuracy of the Bureau’s measurements. A number of residents have raised concerns that the Bureau’s reported rainfall data is often very different to their own measurements.

“I recognise that rainfall on the Coffs Coast often varies in intensity from valley to valley due to the local topography, but the sheer number of locals who question the Bureau’s accuracy leads me to believe this is an issue requiring investigation by the Bureau.”

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