Monday saw one of the worst storms to hit Perth in recent history, with flash flooding, hail and wind causing the most damage. Part of the carnage was felt most by drivers behind the wheel when the sudden storm hit, as well as by dealerships who had no option but to watch their cars being destroyed.
One of the worst affected areas was Osborne Park, home to the more upper-class vehicles with the Audi Centre Perth, Lexus of Perth and Barbagallo’s Prestige being hit the hardest.
Mike Reed, sales manager for Lexus of Perth told of the tragic sequence of events.
“I was showing a customer one of our RX vehicles when we noticed the increase in wind and rain. We looked outside and saw a few small hailstones,” said Mr Reed. “We thought ‘Wow, look at that’ as we don’t often see hail in Perth. Then the hailstones got bigger and bigger.”
The stones quickly turned to golf ball size and the customer asked if the cars outside should be shifted. Reed remarked that it was too late – there was nowhere to shift the cars to.
“We just watched in horror. I saw the windscreens just explode and sunroofs being smashed in. It honestly looked like people were standing on top of the building and firing machine guns at our cars. It was like a warzone,” said Reed.
In total 109 cars were damaged, with an estimated replacement bill of over AUS$6million. And that’s just at one dealership.
Barbagallo’s, which is across the road, also suffered with the roof on the Lamborghini showroom collapsing. Millions of dollars of prestige cars were destroyed, mostly Land Rovers and Range Rovers which faced the storm head on, and on the opposite side of the yard. A few Aston Martins escaped damage.
One Toyota yard lost over 300 cars and thousands of personal cars have been written off. Insurance companies have been inundated by the, ahem, flood of claims with phone lines busy for days. Thankfully most people had insurance against storm and hail, although that may be likely to change as insurance companies decide whether to keep storm and hail as a standard inclusion.