Queensland residents have been reminded to prepare for extreme weather during summer as an insurance claims study identifies the state’s storm spots.
The Bureau of Meteorology has already warned this summer could bring events including bushfires, thunderstorms, flooding and tropical cyclones to the Sunshine State.
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The warnings come as two women were injured during a storm at Winya, near Kilcoy north of Brisbane, which was reported to have ignited a bushfire on Wednesday afternoon.
Queensland Ambulance Woodford Station officer in charge Jonathan Ormond said the women, aged in their 60s and 70s, suffered facial injuries when they were struck by debris as a house was extensively damaged during the storm just before 3pm.
The women were taken to Caboolture Hospital in a stable condition.
A woman died when she was crushed by a falling tree in the Lockyer Valley on Friday.
Suncorp Insurance and the Queensland State Emergency Service on Wednesday released a list of the state’s worst storm-damaged hotspots from the previous financial year.
The list is based on an analysis of almost 10,000 weather-related home insurance claims across Queensland in the 12 months to June 30, 2023.
Half of Queensland’s top 10 storm-battered suburbs were in Wide Bay, a coastal region starting north of Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.
The rest of the areas were around Toowoomba as well as Gladstone and Yeppoon in Central Queensland.
The most storm-prone areas of Queensland have been revealed. Credit: Getty Images
Suncorp executive general manager for home claims Alli Smith said nature was unpredictable and storms could happen anywhere.
“We’re encouraging all Queenslanders to prepare themselves for the upcoming storm season, including inspecting retaining walls, cleaning out gutters and trimming trees around the home and checking your insurance,” she said.
Compare the Market data has suggested many Australian households could be underinsured.
A total of 7.5 per cent of people surveyed said they planned to ditch their contents insurance when their next renewal came through and 15.1 per cent never read their product disclaimer statement or policy documents.
Rain followed by hail and flooding are the most common causes of damage leading to insurance claims.
“We have just come out of three La Niña weather patterns that have caused widespread rain and flooding across Queensland,” Smith said.
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Acting SES Assistant Commissioner Brian Cox said simple steps such as clearing gutters, checking the roof and ceiling for any damage and securing outdoor items could reduce risks.
“Severe weather is a part of life in Queensland and storms can strike at any time,” Cox said.
Emergency services are ready for the upcoming storm season but households are being encouraged to do what they can now to prepare, including putting together an emergency kit with essential items.
At the national level, Suncorp found Dubbo in western NSW and Shepparton in northern Victoria were two of the worst-hit areas for storm-related insurance claims.
Both areas experienced significant flooding during the 2022/23 financial year.
Meanwhile, heightened bushfire conditions were also forecast to return to large parts of Queensland on Wednesday and Thursday with maximum temperatures in the high 30Cs to low 40Cs in the central and southern regions.
Bushfires are also burning across the state. Credit: Darren England/AAP
Authorities fear heatwave conditions powered by strong winds and potential dry lightning strikes could reignite fire grounds.
More than a million hectares have burnt across the state since August 1, with 1000 fires reported since October 21.
Firefighting aircraft helped ground crews fight blazes in the Yuleba State Forest, near Roma, at Dirranbandi, near Saint George, and between Mount Garnet and Irvinebank, in far north Queensland, on Wednesday — three of 60 active fires across the state.
Rural Fire Service Queensland Superintendent James Haig urged people to prepare their properties to mitigate both storm and fire risks.
“I’d urge any Queenslander to go online to prepare their Bushfire Survival Plan and to do all the things that are recommended through the fire and emergency services website and to do the simple preparations around the house because we know that makes a difference,” he said.
“Doing some of these things, particularly clearing your gutters, when the opportunity presents — that can help in preparing for storms as well.
“There’s no downside to cleaning your gutters.”
A severe heatwave warning is in place for the Northern Goldfields and Upper Flinders, Central Highlands and Coalfields, Central West, Channel Country, Wide Bay and Burnett and Southeast Coast districts until Friday.
Severe heatwave conditions are expected to ease over southern Queensland later in the week.
– With Suzanne Simonot
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