Damage Bill From 'Catastrophic' Hail Soars To $670M, With More Storms To Come
The cleanup from a hailstorm that saw hockey-ball-sized stones smash Sydney has only just begun as the damage bill soars to more than $670 million.
As of Monday afternoon, insurers had received 81, 194 claims since the "catastrophic" storms on December 20, bringing the total bill to $670.3 million, according to the Insurance Council of Australia.
It comes as more thunderstorms are expected to sweep across parts of the state, and possibly roll into Sydney, from Tuesday afternoon.
The series of fast-moving storms caused havoc across Sydney, the NSW Central Coast and other north-western parts of the state.
Berowra Heights, in Sydney's north, was among the worst-hit areas, with claims also coming from Liverpool in the city's south-west, and Tamworth in north-east NSW.
More than 59,000 concerned damaged vehicles, while more than 17,000 related to residential building damage.
READ MORE: Hockey-Ball-Size Hailstones Smash Sydney
Last month, NSW Fair Trading warned residents to be wary of hiring dodgy tradespeople or contractors to fix any damages.
“Following the recent destructive storms across NSW, consumers are reminded that anyone who undertakes specialised work to fix damages such as smashed windows, battered roofs or cars is required to have a valid licence or tradesperson certificate,” Commissioner for Fair Trading Rose Webb said.
ICA spokesman Campbell Fuller said the number of claims is increasing as Sydneysiders return home from holidays to find their homes or vehicles damaged.
"We expect these figures to continue to rise over the coming weeks," he said.
Meanwhile, thunderstorms are predicted to affect much of the state over the coming week.
A trough is expected to trigger a fairly broad area of thunderstorm activity across inland parts of NSW on Tuesday afternoon, ranging from northern inland areas down through the south-east part of the state.
"We are already seeing a few thunderstorms over inland areas bringing patchy rainfall and a bit of heat relief," Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Gabrielle Woodhouse told 10 daily.
"We are looking at the risk of these becoming severe, bringing damaging wind gusts, heavy rainfall and possibly large hail over parts of the south-east."
At the moment, it looks like Sydney may be affected -- particularly across the western suburbs and the Blue Mountains.
"It could roll across into the city and the eastern suburbs overnight," Woodhouse said.
Over the next few days, that trough will remain over inland areas.
"For the moment, the best thing to do is keep up to date with any warnings," she said.
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