‘Prepare now’: Thunderstorm asthma warning for Victoria
Thunderstorm asthma conditions are expected across much of Victoria on Thursday, with Premier Daniel Andrews urging people to be prepared.
A thunderstorm asthma warning has been issued for the Wimmera in Victoria’s west because of the high risk forecast.
“Be aware of an increased chance of experiencing breathing difficulties or an asthma attack. Prepare now – carry your asthma reliever puffer with you at all times today,” the advice warning on VicEmergency reads.
There is high risk of thunderstorm asthma in the west of Victoria and moderate risk in Melbourne.Credit:Tribune
A combination of high amounts of grass pollen in the air and certain thunderstorm conditions can trigger thunderstorm asthma.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Jonathon How said while the risk of thunderstorm asthma was high in the Wimmera, there was also a moderate risk in the western and central districts, including Melbourne.
“We do have high to extreme pollen levels and the recent wet conditions and warm weather, allowed a lot of the grass to bloom,” he said.
According to the Melbourne Pollen Count and Forecast, the grass pollen forecast is high in all Victorian districts, but extreme across Gippsland.
High to extreme pollen levels are considered when issuing thunderstorm asthma warnings.
There would be a surface trough sweeping across the west and central areas of the state, which would generate showers and storms, How said.
The bureau would be expecting “severe thunderstorms” across the Wimmera region, with damaging wind gusts and the risk of flash flooding.
There could be falls of between 20-40mm of rain with the thunderstorm, but in Melbourne, rainfall is unlikely to exceed 10mm.
The north-east of the state is expected to avoid the worst of the weather, according to the meteorologist.
Another trough was expected to move across Victoria later this week, which would bring more widespread storms, How said.
“We’re generally entering an unsettled period, as the first trough moves through today and then on Saturday, there will be another system from the west,” he said.
This would bring more widespread storms and particularly heavy rain in Victoria’s north-east.
But the weather bureau’s meteorologist said the risk of a tornado in the region over the weekend was “not a likely scenario by any means”.
“If anything were to form, that’s when we’d put in a very explicit warning,” How said.
Melbourne also experienced the warmest November night since 2020, with the minimum temperature hitting 19.8 degrees, according to the bureau.
Andrews also urged Victorians to take the risk of thunderstorm asthma seriously and speak to their medical professionals.
“You have to take it really, really seriously, and I know that many, many people do, but we’re all busy, and sometimes you can find yourself not quite up to date,” he said of asthma.
Ten people died in Victoria as a result of a thunderstorm asthma event on November 21, 2016. It was the most deadly incidence of thunderstorm asthma recorded in the world.
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