1999 Sydney hailstorm

1999 storm in Australia

The 1999 Sydney hailstorm was the costliest natural disaster in the history of Australia. It caused a lot of damage along the east coast of New South Wales. The storm developed south of Sydney on 14 April 1999 and hit the city's eastern suburbs later that day.[1]

1999 Sydney hailstorm
Hailstones dropped during the storm, compared to a cricket ball (7 cm or 2.8 in diameter)
Meteorological history
Formed14 April 1999, 4:25 pm AEST (UTC+10:00)
North of Nowra
Dissipated14 April 1999, 10:00 pm AEST (UTC+10:00)
East of Gosford, offshore
Duration5 hours, 35 minutes
Storm impact
Fatalities1 (lightning, off Dolans Bay)
DamageInsured: A$1.7 billion
Total: A$2.3 billion (est.)
Areas affectedEastern suburbs, Sydney

The storm dropped roughly 500,000 tonnes of hailstones.[2][3] Insurance companies had to pay over A$1.7 billion (equivalent to $2.8 billion in 2018) to people who had their property damaged.[4] The total cost, including damage the insurance companies did not have to pay for, is roughly $2.3 billion.[5][6] It was the costliest natural disaster in Australian history in damage paid for by insurance companies. The costliest natural disaster used to be the 1989 Newcastle earthquake. Lightning also killed one person during the storm, and the storm caused roughly 50 injuries.[7][8]


  1. Zillman (1999), 19.
  2. Steingold, et al. (1999), 2.
  3. Henri (1999), 16.
  4. Schuster, et al. (2005), 1.
  5. Emergency Management Australia (2006).
  6. Coenraads (2006), 229.
  7. Bureau of Meteorology (2007).
  8. Emergency Management Australia (2003), 61.