Epidemic thunderstorm asthma forecasts will be issued daily from 1 October to 31 December. The forecast covers three consecutive days and uses a colour-coded scale: green (low), orange (moderate) and red (high).
Maps of current epidemic thunderstorm asthma forecast
Three day epidemic thunderstorm asthma forecast by region
Epidemic thunderstorm asthma is forecast each year during grass pollen season (1 October to 31 December).
What do the forecasts mean?
The epidemic thunderstorm asthma forecast system will operate between 1 October and 31 December. It combines the forecasting of a certain uncommon type of thunderstorm and forecasting grass pollen counts across Victoria.
It spans three days and uses a colour-coded scale from low to high risk: green (low), orange (moderate) and red (high).
- A low risk (green) forecast means that the elements necessary for an epidemic thunderstorm asthma event are not expected and an event is unlikely.
- A moderate risk (orange) forecast means that one of the elements necessary for an event may be present (i.e. a high pollen count or a severe thunderstorm storm).
- A high risk (red) forecast means that both a high pollen count and forecast severe thunderstorms increases the risk for an epidemic thunderstorm asthma event.
The forecast is published on VicEmergency - emergency.vic.gov.au/prepare/#thunderstorm-asthma-forecast
Forecasts are not a formal 'warning' and do not mean an epidemic thunderstorm asthma event is certain to occur, rather they are designed to inform people at risk that they should be prepared.
The forecasting system is also not designed to forecast the risk of individual's suffering asthma and hay fever symptoms, which occur every year during the grass pollen season.
Those at increased risk should:
- avoid exposure to any storms that may emerge, especially the wind gusts that precede them
- have a reliever appropriately available (as discussed with your doctor or pharmacist)
- remind themselves of their asthma action plan and asthma first aid.
On a high risk day the department will issue up-to-date relevant advice and warnings on the VicEmergency warning platform.
The forecast will not be updated after 12:30pm on a given day, and any further updates will be posted on the VicEmergency website and app.
How is epidemic thunderstorm asthma forecast?
The risk of an epidemic thunderstorm asthma event occurring is forecast daily during the Victorian grass pollen season (typically 1 October to 31 December).
The department has worked with the Bureau of Meteorology and a number of partner organisations to develop the forecasting system. The system combines weather and pollen observations and data to forecast the risk of an epidemic thunderstorm asthma event. The forecasting system is not designed to forecast the risk of individual increases in asthma and hay fever symptoms, which occur every year during the grass pollen season.
The science of epidemic thunderstorm asthma forecasting is new and, as with all forecasts, there is an element of uncertainty. A high risk forecast does not mean an epidemic thunderstorm asthma event is certain to occur, rather it should be considered seriously and those at risk and their families should be prepared. Likewise, the forecast may sometimes underestimate the risk. Therefore, it is important for those with asthma or hay fever to see their doctor or pharmacist to review their current medication, update their asthma action plan/hay fever treatment plan and learn asthma first aid.
The forecasting system serves two purposes:
- to enable health and emergency service systems to be suitably prepared on days of increased risk
- to raise community awareness of possible events so, where possible, those at increased risk can take action to reduce the health impacts of a potential event.
For more information on Victoria's epidemic thunderstorm asthma forecast system, view our frequently asked questions.
Map of Victorian forecast districts
View a map of Victorian districts below or access the
. A list of local government areas is also provided below.