Australia has been bombarded by freak weather lately, with the entire state of South Australia losing power supply in one short stormy moment and then flooding taking a heavy toll in multiple states. As Victoria prepared for the onslaught, the weather started to move north to NSW and spare the Education State (Victoria).
Having said that, we still copped strong winds and heavy rains today. We were in Ringwood when a tree toppled over and wrote off a car. We found it interesting no wind warning were in place even though trees seemed to be coming down every few minutes. There was a coastal warning for winds, but not for Melbourne or most of the State.We had been meaning to look at the data on Emergency Management Victoria’s (EMV) website for a while, so we took the opportunity today and on the hour pulled the current data from the main EMV website for five hours from 3pm -9pm today, October 3rd, 2016.
The graphs show wind damage incidents (mainly trees down and building damage) being a large chuck of active incidents at 3pm through to 7pm. At the peak hour, 5pm, active incidents (essentially building damage and trees down) made up nearly 60% of the incident volume. The numbers are a snapshot of active incidents that were being attended and outstanding incidents that had not been attended, based on the EMV website data.
By 9pm the active incidents had dropped to less than half by 9pm (from a total 50 to 23). Trees down active incidents had been lowered from 30 to 6, while Building damage is peaked at 10 active jobs at 7pm (peaking most likely as people returned home to discover household damage). By 9pm only 2 Building Damage jobs were shown as active incidents.
We have summarized the data to only shown work currently ‘active’ at the time and have not included any work completed prior to the time (essentially because we do not have a complete data set for entire jobs completed). Active incidents therefore includes the following categories:
– Request for Assistance
– Not yet under control
– Under control
– Safe (often trucks on site)
We excluded the completed status because these are not retained on the EMV website for an extended period and we therefore cannot give a cumulated view at this point. We would estimated between 100 – 200 trees down in total. Some duplications do exist in the data, we have adjusted ‘fires’ for any duplications, however there are still some duplications in non-fire categories, like trees down.
While the actual number of incidents is fairly low, it is a good time for us to have a dig through the data. During fire season, hundreds more active incidents can exist across the state. A single incident might have 10, 50 or 100 trucks attending. Analysis of the website data become problematic as incidents often involve both County Fire Authority (CFA) and Melbourne’s Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) data feeds entering the system. While this is helpful in some regards, it does mean that incidents attended by both the CFA and MFB will be duplicated.
Below is listing of the active warnings on the hour:While the EMV website is probably not intended for this level of analysis, it is still useful to resolve issues non-emergency times rather than it becoming a potential issue during a crisis. The fact that an incident, such as a tree down, is duplicated may not matter – this is community alter system and if the main thing is that the incident is shown to alert people to the incident: be it listed once or twice, what does it matter, the community is alerted.
So should there have been a wind warning for trees coming down this afternoon? We don’t have access to the historical data, however having experienced some very strong winds today, perhaps there should have been. Trees are still coming down, not that many now, but within that last have hour one has just come down within a few kilometers of here.