Don't trust tweet, mail weather warnings

2013-09-11 23:17

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Bloemfontein - The SA Weather Service cautioned the public on Wednesday not to rely on unsourced weather warnings on social networks.

"We [the SA Weather Service] stay the only warning weather voice," Mnikeli Ndabambi, general manager of operations at the SA Weather Service, told delegates at the Disaster Management Institute of Southern Africa’s annual conference.

He said citizens had to hear only one voice when they had to act, and then they had to act.

Ndabambi said scare messages of severe weather through e-mails and tweets could create a serious situation.

"Sad thing about such a story is many companies close, and people stream out onto the streets trying to get home."

He said the weather service played an important role, because active disaster management actions sought constant information.

"Where disaster management action plans are not ready, you can forget it. The information we supply means nothing."

Ndabambi said that with reliable weather information, disaster management officials could close roads and bridges before vehicles were trapped in severe weather.

"I get excited when people get evacuated in time in severe situations, because I know people are communicating with the weather services in saving people."

Suggesting a conference resolution, Ndabambi said more action was needed to integrate the plans of provincial disaster management centres with the national disaster management centre, and that it was urgent that this cascade to district and municipal levels.

Replying to a remark that the "weather man is always wrong", Ndabambi said citizens had to use the weather information and act accordingly.

"At least you have information," he said.

Read more on:    twitter  |  saws  |  social networks  |  weather

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