31 October 2020

Jerrabomberra and northern ACT suburbs hardest hit by January storms says NRMA

| Michael Weaver
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Storm damage in New Acton

Hail damage at New Acton on 20 January. Photo: Region Media.

The suburbs of Aranda, Florey and Latham were the three hardest hit by storms in Canberra during the last storm season, while Jerrabomberra was the most storm-affected town or suburb in NSW, according to data from insurance agency NRMA.

The official storm season runs from October through to March and was marked by a hail storm in January 2020 that left a trail of destruction and a hefty insurance bill to match.

NRMA’s insurance data showed that the ACT experienced its most severe storm season on recent record, with 75 per cent of all storm claims in the 2019-20 financial year the result of storm damage. This is well above the five-year average of 58 per cent.

The storms from January had a devastating impact, with 96 per cent of all home claims in that month the result of storms, while February followed suit with 68 per cent of storm damage claims and 49 per cent in March.

The other Canberra suburbs where storm damage was most prevalent were MacGregor, Dunlop, Griffith, Narrabundah, Weetangera, Holt and Scullin.

Hail at ANU

A hail-covered oval at the ANU from the storm in January. Photo: ANU.

NRMA insurance manager Luke Gallagher said he had not seen weather patterns like those experienced last season and warned that we could face similar conditions again.

“We know that over half of all ACT residents are yet to take steps to prepare their home for severe weather,” Mr Gallagher said.

“We’re urging ACT residents to put aside some time over the weekend to get storm-ready by clearing their gutters and downpipes at home. Gutters are one of the first parts of your home to flood in a storm so taking some time now to prepare could make a big difference when a storm hits.”

The ACT Emergency Services Agency also warned people to be storm ready ahead of predicted heavy rain and severe thunderstorms again this weekend.

READ ALSO Widespread rain and thunderstorms forecast for the weekend

“The community is encouraged to prepare now to minimise damage by ensuring all gutters are clear.

“For those with existing damage from recent storm events, please endeavour to complete maintenance in advance of the coming weather,” an ESA spokesperson said.

The NRMA surveyed 300 customers in Canberra this month and extrapolated that more than 67,000 households in the ACT may be unprepared for severe weather this summer.

Almost all of those surveyed (96 per cent) said they experienced storm stress, with the top three areas of concern being potential damage to homes (65 per cent), vehicles (59 per cent), and driving safely in difficult conditions (50 per cent).

More than half (57 per cent) were worried that climate change is making storms more frequent and intense, compared to 43 per cent of NSW residents and 40 per cent of Queenslanders.

Almost two-thirds said they were nervous about the potential for severe weather this summer.

“With Australia currently experiencing a La Niña weather system, we could see more severe storms and more intense rain hitting the ACT throughout storm season this year,” Mr Gallagher said.

“The fact that close to 70,000 households in the ACT may not be prepared for severe weather and dangerous storms this summer is a major concern.”

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