Canberra, Dec 20 (IANS) Australia’s Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt has defended the weather service agency from criticism over its warning system in the lead-up to flooding in the country’s north.
Watt said at a press conference on Tuesday that the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) had done the “absolute best” they could to accurately forecast the impacts of Tropical Cyclone Jasper but that it is not a perfect science, Xinhua news agency reported.
The storm, which made landfall in northern Queensland on December 13, brought heavy rainfall and strong winds, causing widespread flooding that has devastated much of the region.
The BoM has faced criticism for a video update it published on Saturday suggesting rainfall was easing along Queensland’s coast and that those regions were no longer subject to a severe weather warning.
Residents of the northern city of Cairns reported only receiving a flood warning from the BoM on Sunday after they had been isolated by rising waters.
Despite those issues, Watt said he has faith in the government agency to make decisions.
“I’d ask people to remember that what we were dealing with was a highly unpredictable, unprecedented amount of rain into an area of Australia that knows how to deal with storms, cyclones and floods,” he added on Tuesday.
The federal government has deployed the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to northern Queensland to aid with evacuation and clean-up efforts and triggered financial support payments for flood-affected communities.