Bureau of Meteorology
X

About

The BOM Blog gives you the background and insider info on weather, climate, oceans, water and space weather—as well as the latest on the work of the Bureau.

Comments

We welcome participation in the comments section of our blog; however, we are not able to respond to all comments and questions and your comments may take a little time to appear. The blog is monitored from 9 am to 5 pm Monday–Friday.

Our community includes people of all ages and backgrounds and we want this to be a safe and respectful environment for all. To keep the discussion interesting and relevant, please:

  • respect other people and their opinions;
  • keep your comments on topic and succinct;
  • say why you disagree or agree with someone;
  • comment constructively—in a way that adds value to the discussion.

When commenting, please don't:

  • make defamatory, libellous, false or misleading comments;
  • use obscene, insulting, racist, sexist or otherwise discriminatory or offensive language;
  • post personal information about yourself or others, such as private addresses or phone numbers;
  • promote commercial interests;
  • violate the intellectual property rights of others;
  • violate any laws or regulations;
  • provoke others, distort facts or misrepresent the views of others; or
  • post multiple versions of the same view or make excessive postings on a particular issue.

We won’t publish comments that are not in line with these standards. Blocking/removal of content or banning of users is at our discretion.

There is no endorsement, implied or otherwise, by the Bureau of any material in the comments section. Users are fully responsible for the content they submit.

Commenting is available via a Facebook plugin, which can only be accessed by those with Facebook accounts.

You can contact us at socialmedia@bom.gov.au.

Copyright | Disclaimer | Privacy

X

Contact our social media team at socialmedia@bom.gov.au

Wild encounters: observing weather in the wild west

Wild encounters: observing weather in the wild west

Chance of rain 30%, humidity 60%...poisonous snake 100%—It's just another day at the office for some Bureau staff! Forecasting and observing weather across the Australian continent and offshore on remote islands and Territories often requires our staff to work in close proximity of diverse wildlife.

The Bureau’s Meteorological Office at Albany, located on the south coast of Western Australia approximately 415km south of Perth, is staffed by two observers, and is also home to an abundance of local wildlife, including kangaroos, lizards, and snakes!


Getting to know the neighbours

Weather observer, Jenny Feast, has seen her fair share of Australia—and its unique creatures—during her eight years at the Bureau.

'I’ve had the opportunity to work in some incredible places, like Willis Island, Davis Station in Antarctica, Geraldton, Cocos Island, Kalgoorlie, along with some capital cities, and now Albany,' she says.

'I love Albany for the beaches, the scenery and the community. I'm pretty passionate about regional areas—except for the snakes!'

Albany Meteorological Office and radar. Credit: Keon Stephenson.

Jenny grew up as a surfer in southwest Western Australia, which led her to study an ocean science based degree.

'Living in rural Western Australia, I've always been really interested in the weather, as it’s our biggest influence on everyday life. I enjoy the hands-on aspect of being an observer—every single day is different, dealing with real-time data and maintaining instrumentation.

A typical day at work for Jenny begins at 6.30 am, which gives her enough time to prepare for the first of the four or five daily radio interviews at 6.50 am. The first weather balloon release occurs at about 7.15 am, enabling the Bureau to collect temperature, wind and humidity data in the upper atmosphere.

'Most mornings the comprehensive local chapter of kangaroos stand by to supervise the local weather balloon releases—they’re really curious creatures!'

Kangaroos watch the weather balloon releases.

Snakes and ladders

Working in the field in remote and regional locations, Jenny’s first aid training has focused on snake bites, while her defensive driving training has helped her navigate gravel roads and avoid the roos.

'There are a number of snakes endemic to the area, particularly the Western Tiger Snake, Dugite, and the Western Crowned Snake.

'These friendly neighbours like to visit regularly over the summer months. And autumn. And spring. They spend a lot of time inspecting all aspects outside the building, including front and back door seals, office pot plants and our water supply. Sometimes they get a little too friendly and let themselves inside.

'Common sense prevails, really. I see a snake, I vacate the area at pace to higher ground—usually on top of a desk—until I feel it's safe to descend and my heart rate returns to normal!'

Western Tiger Snake outside the Albany Meteorological Office.

Jenny says the Albany Meteorological Office is also home to a large population of local lizards—particularly bungarras (also known as sand goannas) and blue tongues—who are far from shy.

'It’s not unusual to see them at the window looking for the latest weather update!' she says.

'An essential part of our training includes respect for wildlife, and I’d have to say they’re also one of the most rewarding aspects of our work. In what other job can you observe Australia’s amazing and unique fauna up close while observing our dynamic weather systems?

'But not the snakes—have I mentioned I don’t do snakes?'

A bungarra (sand goanna) pops by the Albany Meteorological Office.

Blue tongue lizards.

Comment. Tell us what you think of this article.

Share. Tell others.