Dookie will play a part in a new $15million thunderstorm asthma monitoring, prediction and alert system.
The system is designed to give Victorians an early warning of possible epidemic thunderstorm asthma events this grass pollen season.
To support the system, the Victorian Government expanded pollen data collection sites with new pollen traps in Hamilton, Creswick, Bendigo, Dookie and Churchill, in addition to existing traps in Parkville, Burwood and Geelong.
Marking the start of the grass pollen season, Health Minister Jill Hennessy launched the Victorian Government’s new epidemic thunderstorm asthma forecasting system to better predict and respond to large-scale emergencies such as thunderstorm asthma.
People with asthma or hay fever are particularly at risk of thunderstorm asthma, and for many it can be sudden, serious and life threatening.
The government partnered with the Bureau of Meteorology, the University of Melbourne, Deakin University and other research organisations to develop the state-of-the-art epidemic thunderstorm asthma forecasting system — one of the first in the world.
The new forecasting system will forecast the risk of epidemic thunderstorm asthma, which is triggered by high grass pollen levels and a certain type of thunderstorm.
The forecasting system considers grass pollen forecasts, weather observations and data including wind changes, temperature, rainfall and grass coverage.
It will then identify the risk of epidemic thunderstorm asthma using a traffic light scale — green for low, orange for moderate, and red for high — and trigger warnings if required.
The forecasting system will run from October 1 until the end of December, the typical Victorian grass pollen season.
■To access the forecasts, Victorians should download the Vic Emergency App or visit www.emergency.vic.gov.au/prepare