Victoria’s chief health official has taken the somewhat unusual step of issuing a health warning to Victorians ahead of more potential thunderstorm activity about the ranges later today.
Professor Charles Guest has issued the warning to asthma sufferers and those who were affected by last week’s unprecedented and catastrophic thunderstorm asthma event which claimed 8 lives and threw Melbourne’s hospital and ambulance services into complete chaos.
Professor Guest explained that they’re not ordinarily in the business of issuing weather-related warnings, and that a repeat of last week’s event is extremely unlikely given the circumstances, but a cautious-first approach is needed as health organisations and the Bureau of Meteorology work together to establish new warning systems.
“We don’t normally refer people to the weather predictions, the weather forecasts each day, but we thought in the context of last week’s disaster it would be wise to do so.”
“I’m concerned the weather conditions forecast might — just might, it’s very unlikely — lead to an episode of thunderstorm asthma.”
“It’s very unlikely, that event was absolutely unprecedented. There has been small episodes of thunderstorm asthma before, small ones with just a few people affected.”
The current forecast calls for a very slight chance of thunderstorm activity around the Gippsland and Northern Ranges regions later today.
People in the region are being urged to exercise caution on the off chance that another Thunderstorm Asthma event occurs. Those on preventer medications should remain vigilant, and people who were affected by last week’s asthma event should ensure their reliever puffers are on hand.