Some of Australia’s most populated regions are also some of its most flood prone.
That’s the advice of a major Australian insurer which has today released details of the 10 most flood-prone areas nationwide as well as by state.
They include parts of Brisbane as well as Wollongong, New South Wales’ third largest city.
The data comes as meteorologists have warned a “major flood and rain event” is likely to hit this weekend which could pass through some of the areas highlighted.
Despite the record breaking November heat, summer 2020 is still expected to be wetter than usual due to the effects of the La Nina climate driver which is now in full swing
Insurer IAG Group – which owns the NRMA Insurance and CGU brands – compiled the flood data by local government area (LGA).
“We are moving into a La Nina weather system, which means more wet weather and the increasing likelihood of severe storms and flooding,” said IAG Group’s executive manager of natural perils, Mark Leplastrier.
“It’s important that people are aware of the risks they face based on where they live so that they can prepare for these weather events.”
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Summer can be peak time for floods with monsoonal lows and tropical cyclones dumping vast amounts of moisture on the continent. Even away from these weather events, the water produced by them can then flow into rivers causing flooding far further downstream.
Flood risk is often stated in terms of there being, say, a “one-in-100 year” or “one-in-20 year” chance of a property going underwater. Another way to think about it, is that a home at risk of one-in-100 year flood, has a 1 per cent chance each and every year of being inundated. If it floods one year, there’s no guarantee it won’t flood again the year after.
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MOST AT RISK AREAS
According to IAG, the most flood prone areas based on the total sum of premiums at risk are all in Queensland and New South Wales.
In Queensland, the LGAs of Brisbane and Townsville are the highest risk.
Brisbane is one of Australia’s largest metropolitan councils, covering a large chunk of the entire city. The data doesn’t go down to suburb level, and many will be well out of the flood plain. But according to Brisbane City Council suburbs close to the Brisbane River and Breakfast Creek are in danger including the CBD, Newstead, Windsor and Indooroopilly.
St Lucia, West End, Graceville and Rocklea all flooded in the 2011 Brisbane floods.
The insurance firm said the average claims cost to repair homes affected by water during the 2019 Townsville floods was $80,000.
In NSW, a number of LGAs make the flood top tier. These include Wollongong and Shoalhaven in the south; Central Coast Council between Sydney and Newcastle; as well as Hawkesbury on Sydney’s north western fringe.
In the state’s north, Clarence Valley, Tweed, Lismore and Kempsey LGAs are all at risk.
Other states didn’t make the top flight but they still had LGAs where the cost of inundation would be high.
These included Benalla, Bendigo and Maribyrnong in Victoria; Bunbury, Carnarvon and Swan in Western Australia; Devonport, Latrobe and Launceston in Tasmania; and Gawler, Murray Bridge and West Torrens in South Australia.
“We’re encouraging people to take action to reduce their exposure to these risks, so that if and when a major storm, flood or tropical cyclone does occur, people have prepared their property and have an up-to-date emergency plan and insurance cover in place to protect themselves and their homes,” Mr Leplastrier said.
IAG has released a fact sheet for homeowners to understand the risk of flooding and what they can do to protect their property.
MAJOR FLOOD AND RAIN EVENT EXPECTED THIS WEEKEND
The first test of many homes’ flood defences could come as soon as this weekend with warnings of “major flood and rain event”.
Stretching from Brisbane to Sydney, it could affect seven of the 10 most at risk LGAs.
Cold, moist air from the interior will edge its way eastwards over the coming days meeting up with moist air in the Coral and Tasman seas. An area of high pressure sitting in the Tasman will then merge all this moisture together and send it right back to eastern Australia.
Up to 150mm of rain could fall in some areas on the east coast.
Coffs Harbour could see a storm on Thursday, between 10 and 30mm of rain on Friday and even as much as 70mm on both Sunday and Monday. That’s well within flash flood territory.
It will be very wet for Brisbane too with up to 20mm coming down on Saturday and 45mm on Sunday and more rain on Monday.