Hail warning: Melbourne summer hail season starts early

September 17, 2012

Recent flash hail storms in Melbourne have forced Budget Direct to issue an early summer hail storm warning, urging residents to stay alert to the increased threat of hail during the summer months.

Budget Direct’s Head of Hail Innovation PaRecent flash hail storms in Melbourne have forced Budget Direct to issue an early summer hail storm warning, urging residents to stay alert to the increased threat of hail during the summer months.

Budget Direct’s Head of Hail Innovation Paul Malt said the flash hail storm on August 23 could be an early indication of the nature of the summer storm season ahead.

Mr Malt urged Melbourne residents to be prepared by learning how to spot and safely avoid potential hail.

“The flash hail storms we saw a few weeks ago are an early and timely reminder of the damage that can be caused by larger, more severe summer hail, like the 2011 Melbourne Christmas Day storm,” Mr Malt said.

“The months leading up to summer are really the start of the severe hail storm season, where we begin to see bigger, more damaging hail stones.

“Melbourne’s most severe hail storms in recent memory, Christmas Day in 2011 and over the Labor weekend in 2010, occurred during or just after the end of the summer months.

“The cost of these hail storms was immense, the Christmas Day storm resulting in $712 million in damages and the Labor weekend storm reaching $1.16 billion in loss and damage.

“People forget big weather formations can harbour large hail stones and because of this they’re often caught out when the storm hits.

“If you’re in your vehicle and you see a large storm formation made up of dark clouds, sometimes with a green tinge, we recommend you safely pull over and listen to the radio for a weather warning.

“If a hail storm is in the vicinity you should safely drive your vehicle home if possible, or to the nearest shelter such as a shopping centre car park, never rush though as far too many accidents occur as a result of hurried driving.

“A protective car cover is useful, but only fit this to your vehicle if you have sufficient time to get yourself and your loved ones indoors and away from the hail.

“Never park your car under trees and powerlines, or near creeks or drains, because this could cause further damage to your car, or even worse, to yourself.”

Mr Malt said his team alerted Melbourne residents to the threat of the 2011 Christmas Day hail storm through Budget Direct’s ‘Hail Hero’.

“Using Budget Direct’s ‘Hail Hero’ we were able to warn 125,000 Melbourne residents up to 30 minutes prior to the Christmas Day hail storm,” Mr Malt said.

“Budget Direct’s ‘Hail Hero’ is the only SMS hail alert system of its kind in operation and the most precise hail prediction technology in the country.

“Within five minutes of receiving a storm warning we are able to send an SMS to affected policy holders aiming to give them at least 10 minutes warning of an approaching hail storm.

“Since its launch just over a year ago, we’ve tracked 1109 hail storms and alerted over 327,814 Australians to the threat of hail.”

Budget Direct was established as an insurance provider in Australia in 2000. It is part of the international Budget Insurance group of companies headquartered in the British Isles. The Budget Insurance group of companies annually administers more than 3.5 million policies and $2 billion in premium. Auto & General Insurance Company Ltd underwrites Budget Direct’s policies.

ul Malt said the flash hail storm on August 23 could be an early indication of the nature of the summer storm season ahead.

Mr Malt urged Melbourne residents to be prepared by learning how to spot and safely avoid potential hail.

“The flash hail storms we saw a few weeks ago are an early and timely reminder of the damage that can be caused by larger, more severe summer hail, like the 2011 Melbourne Christmas Day storm,” Mr Malt said.

“The months leading up to summer are really the start of the severe hail storm season, where we begin to see bigger, more damaging hail stones.

“Melbourne’s most severe hail storms in recent memory, Christmas Day in 2011 and over the Labor weekend in 2010, occurred during or just after the end of the summer months.

“The cost of these hail storms was immense, the Christmas Day storm resulting in $712 million in damages and the Labor weekend storm reaching $1.16 billion in loss and damage.

“People forget big weather formations can harbour large hail stones and because of this they’re often caught out when the storm hits.

“If you’re in your vehicle and you see a large storm formation made up of dark clouds, sometimes with a green tinge, we recommend you safely pull over and listen to the radio for a weather warning.

“If a hail storm is in the vicinity you should safely drive your vehicle home if possible, or to the nearest shelter such as a shopping centre car park, never rush though as far too many accidents occur as a result of hurried driving.

“A protective car cover is useful, but only fit this to your vehicle if you have sufficient time to get yourself and your loved ones indoors and away from the hail.

“Never park your car under trees and powerlines, or near creeks or drains, because this could cause further damage to your car, or even worse, to yourself.”

Mr Malt said his team alerted Melbourne residents to the threat of the 2011 Christmas Day hail storm through Budget Direct’s ‘Hail Hero’.

“Using Budget Direct’s ‘Hail Hero’ we were able to warn 125,000 Melbourne residents up to 30 minutes prior to the Christmas Day hail storm,” Mr Malt said.

“Budget Direct’s ‘Hail Hero’ is the only SMS hail alert system of its kind in operation and the most precise hail prediction technology in the country.

“Within five minutes of receiving a storm warning we are able to send an SMS to affected policy holders aiming to give them at least 10 minutes warning of an approaching hail storm.

“Since its launch just over a year ago, we’ve tracked 1109 hail storms and alerted over 327,814 Australians to the threat of hail.”


For further information or interviews please contact Brad Seymour, Director Partnerships & Communication, Budget Direct (Auto & General) at 07 3377 8937  or mediaenquiries@budgetdirect.com.au

Budget Direct was established as an insurance provider in Australia in 2000.  It is part of the international Budget Insurance group of companies headquartered in the British Isles. The group provides more than 6.8 million policies to insurance customers and administers $2 billion in premiums annually. Budget Direct offers Motor, Home & Contents, Health, Life and Travel Insurance as well as Roadside Assistance.

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