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Weather Extremes Dominate Natural Hazards In 2008

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

14 MAY 2009 - The recent wild weather continues a trend that saw storms rack up record amounts of property damage in 2008.

Two winter storms in 2008 set a record for the largest number of insurance claims lodged in a single month, according to an annual review of natural hazards from the Natural Hazards Centre.

The two storms in July produced 23,755 claims costing insurers $72 million, the 30-page annual publication says.

The three most costly years for insurance claims in the past four decades were the 1968 Wahine Storm ($200 million), the1987 Bay of Plenty earthquake ($357 million), and the 2004 Manawatu floods ($112 million).

The Earthquake Commission received nearly 9000 claims compared to 6519 in 2007 and 2167 in 2006. Earthquakes generated the largest number of claims at 6589, with most of these coming from the magnitude 6.8 December 2007 Gisborne earthquake.

Too much rain and not enough rain dominated as the most costly and damaging natural hazards in 2008, with earthquakes having a slightly quieter year than normal.

Other notable hazards included hail in Canterbury and landslides in Auckland that together caused damage in excess of $20 million.

The Natural Hazards Centre is a joint initiative of GNS Science and NIWA. Its 30-page annual review includes: Summaries of the main hazards in 2008 with graphics and analysis of key events Reports from the Insurance Council and Earthquake Commission Reports from the Ministry for the Environment, the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, and the National Engineering Lifelines Committee Summaries of major research projects being undertaken by NIWA and GNS Science.

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