Victorians Will Get Thunderstorm Asthma Events Warnings Three Days Before it Would Occur
A new detection system has been released and Victoria has first dibs.
Victoria established a new thunderstorm asthma detection system, which will alert people three days before the deadly event could happen. This move is due to an asthma event that happened in Melbourne on November 21 and 22 last year that have led to the death of nine people and hospitalisation of thousands. It should be noted however, that 40 percent of the hospitalised victims do not have asthma.
Thunderstorm asthma starts when a storm occurs and forms water while pollen is being carried to the clouds, thus opening these pollens and producing smaller allergen particles. When this occurs, it can be breathed deeply into the lungs causing complications.
According to The Guardian, the new system combines weather data collected from the Bureau of Meteorology and pollen data collected by Deakin and Melbourne universities to be able to know the chances of a thunderstorm transforming into a thunderstorm asthma event.
“The great challenge with thunderstorm asthma and epidemic thunderstorm asthma in particular was its scale, its severity and the fact that we did not have a prediction system in place that would have enabled us to understand potentially what was coming and what the impact might be,” the health minister, Jill Hennessy, said at the State Emergency Management Centre on Sunday as quoted in The Guardian.
Once data is gathered and a probability of a thunderstorm to transform into a thunderstorm asthma event is predicted, public warnings will be spread out through the State Emergency Management Centre, the office that manages bushfires, strong storms and other natural calamities. These warnings will be distributed through the VicEmergency app and will be categorised per colour: green for low risk; orange for moderate risk; and red for high risk.
“This monitoring system that we are launching and showing you today coincides with the start of the pollen system,” Hennessy added as quoted in The Guardian.
“We need people to take this seriously. This is probably the most developed system that exists anywhere in the world around epidemic thunderstorm asthma. There are people all over the world that are looking to Victoria, our response, and what they might learn from the very challenging and tragic experience that we had last year.”