The Melbourne Hailstorms 2010 and 2011

Melbourne is not immune to hailstorms but neither are significant hailstorms all that common. So what chance is it that two hailstorms with very large hail occur in subsequent years?

On the 6th March 2010, it was obvious that a weather system was in place for a significant event across Victoria. As the event neared, the focus was for two days of severe weather including hailstorms across Victoria and southern NSW. Melbourne was on the southern periphery of this system. Nevertheless, a severe storm developed across central Victoria and drifted rapidly southeast towards the western outskirts of Melbourne. The supercell (a type of severe storm with rotating updraft) became significant as it tracked along a boundary through the suburbs of Melbourne. Copious amounts of hail fell near and in the vicinity of the CBD of Melbourne including larger hail on the northern part of the supercell. The storm then split before rapidly declining over the Fern Tree Gully region. the break down of this storm event produced some of the giant sized hailstones near or exceeding a diameter of 8cm. Millions of dollars of damage occurred with this event and it took almost two years to repair most of the vehicles – the insurance industry using this storm to test their systems of repair.

When all thought was done, another system was being predicted for the Victoria region near Christmas. At first it was to occur further north but the instability forecast by the models as well as the trigger put storms to develop west of Melbourne. Unfortunately, Melbourne’s western suburbs once again faced another battering as another supercell exploded and headed generally east across the suburbs almost directly impacting the airport in a line from Melton. Once again, thousands of cars were severely damage given the Christmas festivities occurring across the city. The storm also tracked roughly for some length along a freeway known as the Western Ring Road and many vehicles were pounded by hailstones up to 6cm in diameter. The worst hit region seemed to be the western suburbs with the suburb of Taylor’s Lake also suffering roof damage.

Repairs from this hailstorm carried through 2012 and into part of 2013. In some ways, publicity from the media in response to issues with the paintless dent removal industry, accountability of overseas workers in Melbourne and money earned by PDR Technicians had a significant impact on the rise in popularity of the PDR industry. PDR Training Australia for instance reported a significant rise in applicants wanting to acquire training in paintless dent removal.