Gas Week

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ACT: Capital braces to receive up to 100 severe storms expected to hit NSW and the ACT between October and March; emergency services urge residents to clean out their gutters “well in advance”

Posted by gasweek on 3 October, 2007

According to Sonya Neufeld, in The Canberra Times, (25/09/2007, p.1), Canberrans were being urged to be prepared for up to 100 severe storms, which could include driving hail, cause flash flooding and would have enough force to lift roofs.

Operation StormSafe launched: The storms were expected to hit New South Wales (NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) between October and March, as a result of climate change. The ACT Government, along with the NRMA and the ACT State Emergency Service, launched yesterday a $55,000 campaign called StormSafe, to warn of the potentially destructive weather.

Residents urged to clean gutters in advance: Commander with the Woden SES unit Gordon McAlpine said the most important thing residents could do to prepare for the impending storms was to clean out their gutters “well in advance”. He said the ACT SES received about 1500 calls for assistance every year, with most between September and February.

Bitter experience for insurers: The news comes after Canberra was battered by three freak storms in December and February, leaving insurers with an estimated $15 million bill.

Last hailstorm damages in excess of $7m: A severe hailstorm brought Canberra’s city centre to a standstill in February, with the Canberra Centre among the worst-affected buildings. The storm’s fury saw roofs collapse and several government and public buildings flooded. But the NRMA said the worst storm hit on 31 December 2006, resulting in more than $7 million in claims.

More damaging than fire or burglary: NRMA Insurance ACT operations manager Stephen Beatty said homes were far more likely to be damaged by storms than by fire or burglary. He said the most common type of claims following a storm were water intrusion and hail damage.

Come in different variants: Bureau of Meteorology NSW regional director Barry Hanstrum said “super-cell” thunderstorms were the biggest threat. He warned that they were longer lived than typical storms but also highly localised, with an impact zone spanning as little as 10km.

The Canberra Times, 25/9/2007, p. 1

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