Aussies suffer another costly hailstorm
The National Weather Service's Sterling forecast office recorded its first (non-snow) thunderstorms of the year on Monday, and with them came some 1-inch hail.
But that hail pales in comparison with the storms that have pounded parts of Australia during March, as the southern continent transitions from summer to fall. Hailstones as big as 4 inches have been documented in these storms. The damage has been tremendous.
Steve Zubrick, science officer at Sterling, cites newspaper sources down under who quote the Insurance Council of Australia saying insurers there have already received 79,000 claims worth $491 million. But insurance experts believe the total will exceed $700 million and set a new record for the country.
Zubrick tells me the first storm struck March 6 in Melbourne, with stones likened to lemons, near 4 inches in diameter. Another occurred in Perth, in Western Australia on Monday, March 22. Both came with flash flooding, as this video from Melbourne makes plain.