THE Mid North Coast was among the hardest hit regions for storm damage across NSW, according to this month's statistics revealed by NRMA Insurance.
The latest NRMA Insurance Wild Weather Tracker (the Tracker) has revealed the huge impact of wild weather in eastern Australia over the past three months with the insurer recording its highest number of home claims for weather damage in spring.
Coffs Harbour was the NSW region hardest hit by severe weather.
Port Macquarie, Wauchope and Forster followed as the worst hit towns on the Mid North Coast.
Hail accounted for almost half of these claims after supercell storms battered Coffs Harbour in October.
The data shows that in a typical spring, wild weather accounts for just over half (55%) of all NRMA Insurance home claims, however in spring 2021, two-thirds (66%) of all home claims in NSW, QLD and the ACT were caused by wild weather.
With a La Nina weather system now officially declared for Australia's east coast, NRMA Insurance's Executive Manager Natural Perils, Mark Leplastrier, urged Australians to take the threat of a wet and potentially wild summer seriously.
"Spring featured some of the most unpredictable and extreme weather we have seen in many years, and with a La Nina system now declared, we could be in for more wet weather over summer," Mr Leplastrier said.
"From flooding in central NSW and western QLD, to tornadoes and earthquakes hitting NSW and Victoria, as well as record rain and hail events across the east coast - it has been an ominous start to Storm Season. To prepare for a wetter than usual summer ahead of us, it's important that people start thinking about how they can protect their homes from thunderstorms and fast moving hailstorms."
The Tracker also features the latest NRMA Insurance research on attitudes to disaster preparedness and wild weather.
The research found Australians are increasingly worried about the link between climate change and wild weather, and want more done to help reduce the impacts of climate change and natural disasters.
"We have been studying the impact of the changing climate for nearly 20 years. One of the impacts of a warmer climate is that we could see severe hailstorms, such as the one that hit Coffs Harbour recently, become more frequent and trend further south over the warmer months in spring and summer," Mr Leplastrier said.
"This means we could start to see large areas such as the inland region from the Hunter River, down through the central and southern New South Wales highlands, and into central and eastern Victoria experience more frequent hailstorms. So it's critical people start to understand the risks they face and how they can prepare and protect their homes, properties and vehicles."
The Australian Red Cross has partnered with NRMA Insurance on this edition of the Tracker.
National Resilience Advisor at Australian Red Cross, John Richardson, said that psychological preparation for wild weather can be just as important as physical preparation.
"We know that disasters and emergencies can upend people's lives, disrupt mental wellbeing and fragment relationships and communities," Mr Richardson said.
"A recent Australian Red Cross survey looked at the emergency experiences of people and demonstrated that the more prepared people feel, the lower their stress levels at the time, and the better their recovery after an emergency. The good news is being prepared helps us be in control and make good decisions during and after a disaster."
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