The Orange Storm
The NSW SES Management of Storm Damage in NSW: Gissing, A. and Campbell, P. (2004) Presented at the International Conference on Storms, Brisbane, 2004
The New South Wales (NSW) State Emergency Service (SES) is the legislated agency responsible for the emergency management of storms in NSW Australia, including the hazards of coastal erosion, snow, hail, wind, rain and flash flooding. The service is comprised of approximately 9000 volunteers spread across NSW, as well as almost 100 paid officers based at the state headquarters and 18 division level offices in regional centres throughout the state.
Storms are the most expensive natural hazard in NSW, costing on average approximately 196 million dollars annually since 1967. In an average year the SES completes approximately 10,000 storm tasks, however, the service twice in the last decade has completed over 30,000 storm tasks in a year. In recent years the service has responded to numerous severe events including the Wollongong storm and flash flood of August, 1998, the Sydney hailstorm of April, 1999 and the Sydney and Illawarra wind storm of August, 2003. The NSW thunderstorm season lasts from October through to March, however it is clearly possible for thunderstorms and other types of storms to occur outside this period.
The SES involves itself primarily in the preparation of communities for storm events and in the response to storms when they occur. The following sections detail the SES's work in these areas.
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