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Thursday, 27 May 2010 20:34

Storms Across N. Texas and Oklahoma Leave Floods, Power Outages and Millions in Damages

Storms across Texas and Oklahoma wreaked havoc on the states with tornadoes and large hail; damages are still being calculated.

Fierce winds and heavy rain caused thousands of power outages across the Texas Metroplex area Friday May 14. While the May 10 tornadoes in Oklahoma produced insured losses in the tens of millions of dollars, the May 16 hail storms caused monumental damage to windshields and structures across the state.

“Tornadoes are kind of hit and miss,” said Jerry Johns, president of the Southwest Insurance Information Service in Austin, Texas. “With a hailstorm, it’s a very concentrated weather event that affects block after block after block.”

Phones at the weather service office in Fort Worth were “ringing off the hook” Friday afternoon with reports of storm damage, said Dan Shoemaker, meteorologist.

Shoemaker reported that roads had to be barricaded in the Wise County community of Chico and in Mineral Wells. Shingles were blown from a roof in Saginaw, he said.

The weather service posted a flash flood watch through Saturday morning because thunderstorms and possible runoff remained in the forecast.

Preliminary claims figures from the May 10 tornadoes in Oklahoma project losses in the millions, said Marc Young, Oklahoma assistant insurance commissioner. Johns believes the initial storm will produce losses in the “tens of millions of dollars.”

Johns said the two storms likely will be the second- most expensive in the 25 years he has been in the insurance business in Oklahoma. Johns, who tracks the insurance industry in Oklahoma and Texas, said the storms probably will be topped only by the destruction of Hurricane Ike, which ripped through Galveston and Houston in 2008.

The auto repair business is still reeling from the slew of hail storms that continue to hit the state.

Body Works Inc., a mobile auto glass repairer in Oklahoma City, told customers to wrap damaged car windows in plastic because it could be a couple weeks before they'd get to them.

“We’re not scheduling at this point, we just have a waiting list and are calling people from that,” said Chris Donnelly.

A second hail storm rained down golf ball to baseball-sized hail on Sunday May 16, causing further delays in windshield repairs.
“It just peppered everything in sight,” said Chris Donnelly, “it is absolutely blowing us up.”

Body Works is seeing a lot of complete windshield replacements and paint less dent repairs, but about 50% of cars coming in are being totaled.

At Eskridge Lexus, tents made to withstand hail stones protectedsome of the newest cars on the lot. But about 200 other vehicles had cracked windshields and dents.

“Our plans are to repair everything and then disclose that to customers,” said general sales manager Doug Berryhill.

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