Picture: Lightning strikes. Credit: Max LaRochelle.

by Joshua Soderholm
Observations of severe weather are critical for not only quantifying impact but also understanding the processes which drive them. This information is in demand from not only scientists but also the wider professional community, including the risk and asset management sectors.

The WeatheX app was initiated in 2018 by CLEX to provide a modern platform for reporting and photographing extreme weather events, including hail, flooding and damaging winds. Over 800 reports have been submitted in the past two years from more than 450 unique users. Dozens of reports were collected during two high impact events, the 20 December 2018 Sydney hailstorm and the 19-21 January 2019 SE Australia hailstorm outbreak, which resulted in total insured losses of more than $2.5 billion (Insurance Council of Australia, 2020).

Hail reports and submitted photograph from the 20 December 2018 Sydney hailstorm.

A new version of WeatheX was initiated in March 2019 following a one-day workshop with stakeholders: CLEX, Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, Risk Frontiers, IAG, NSW OEH and the Victorian SES, and feedback from app users.

Funding provided by stakeholders has ensured that many of the features requested by the community can now be implemented, providing a more engaging app. Key to these changes is social media integration, where app users can now post real-time map information and reports to their own social media accounts. Additionally, app users can now report rainfall and receive alerts if reports are submitted near their location.

These updates to WeatheX will be delivered throughout July and August, so make sure you have the app downloaded! Find the WeatheX app in the Android and iOS stores or visit weathex.app for more information.