New research from NRMA Insurance has revealed that half of Australians are concerned about being impacted by bushfires or grassfires this spring and summer (49 per cent), yet less than a quarter have taken steps to protect and prepare their homes in the past six months (23 per cent).
The research features in the winter edition of the NRMA Insurance Wild Weather Tracker (the Tracker) which shows that despite the high level of concern, only a quarter of Australians know what they would do if a bushfire threatened their home (27 per cent).
The research also revealed that almost half of the population said recent extreme weather overseas has made them more concerned about the impacts of fires closer to home over the coming months (48 per cent).
The Tracker shows NRMA Insurance received 4,184 claims for wild weather damage to homes and vehicles nationally during winter.
Most claims were for damage to homes (3,694) with nearly a third of all home claims the result of severe weather this winter.
NRMA Insurance meteorologist Dr Bruce Buckley said despite a mild winter for most, Australians should be prepared for all types of weather extremes this spring.
“Some of the extreme weather drivers experienced in the Northern Hemisphere, such as widespread and increased sea temperatures and El Niño also apply to Australia, escalating the risks associated with higher temperatures this season,” Dr Buckley said.
“As the weather heats up and with large parts of the country on alert for bushfires or grassfires, we’re encouraging people to prepare now, particularly as grasslands are drying up quickly as we head into El Niño conditions.”
In addition to bushfire and grassfire risk, there is also increased probability of hail and severe thunderstorms in some areas this spring, particularly for southeast Queensland and eastern New South Wales.
“On top of fire risk, severe storms can develop quickly and strike at any time, so it’s important for people to understand their local risks and stay alert for storms that can emerge quickly,” added Dr Buckley.
Positively, the Tracker shows that more than half of Australians (55 per cent) plan to take action to prepare for wild weather between now and summer, compared to only 34 per cent who took steps to prepare during winter.
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