Insurers have so far received more than 55,650 claims from the wild storms over the weekend with losses estimated at A$514 million (US$353 million).
53% of the claims were in the Australian Capital Territory, 30% in Victoria and 17% in New South Wales respectively.
According to catastrophe risk modeling firm AIR Worldwide, due to an unusual synoptic scale setup over Australia from January 19 to 21, severe thunderstorms with winds up to 117 km/hr and hail up to two inches in diameter affected Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, and New South Wales, including the cities of Melbourne, Canberra, and Sydney.
A low-pressure trough brought instability to the region and warm, moist air from the Coral Sea to the east combined to create an ideal atmosphere for storm development. AIR said appears likely to be Australia’s most impactful severe thunderstorm event since the damaging Sydney hailstorm of December 2018.
Among the buildings badly damaged was the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Canberra – a research facility built within a glasshouse; scientists there fear most of their experiments will be lost, some of which were years in the making.
And to add further woes to the market, bushfires flared up around Canberra leading to the airport being closed.

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