Floods are a serious threat to life, property and infrastructure in Australia, and accordingly there has been a strong focus on the development of flood warning services. These are provided by the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology in conjunction with emergency management agencies and councils of local government. Often there are performance shortfalls in the provision of warnings of impending floods, and community criticism is common. This paper argues that most of the weaknesses in Australian flood warning practice are ‘cultural’ (that is, pertaining to the ways in which agencies operate) rather than ‘technical’ (resulting from deficiencies in data management or analysis). The paper makes a number of suggestions designed to overcome these deficiencies.