Katie Rucke Apr. 20, 2016, 5:19pm


WYLIE, TEXAS—Baseball-sized hail demolished cars and homes across North Texas recently, while damaging winds blew roofs off of homes.

Softball-sized hail crashed through Wylie-resident Kylie Reising’s roof. “It was bad,” she said. “We had hail knocking holes through our ceiling, our house was full of hail and water.”

The April 11 storm caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage in cities such as Plano, Wylie, Frisco and Allen, that were still recovering from two large hail storms that hit the area last month. A hailstorm on March 16 caused an estimated $600 million insured losses to property in Fort Worth and Arlington, according to the Insurance Council of Texas. Claims from the storm that occurred on March 23 are still processing, but it’s estimated property losses from that storm will amount to around $700 million.

“Insurance companies already had catastrophe teams in place to handle the thousands of claims coming in from the two previous storms,” Mark Hanna, a spokesperson for the Insurance Council of Texas, said in a statement. “There is no doubt that additional insurance adjusters will be called in to handle the aftermath of this devastating storm.”

Hanna told a local Fox affiliate that while the April 11 storm covered the smallest area of land of the recent storms, it had the largest-sized hail and likely did the most damage. Damage estimates from the storm puts the overall total of damage in North Texas around $1.6 billion.

During the March storms, more than 40,000 vehicles were damaged in each hail event. But in the April storm, countless cars were totaled.

Sara Correa was driving with her eight-month-old daughter, Addison, in the backseat when the hail began to fall. “The back window was just completely shattered,” Correa told a local ABC affiliate about the hail “It was the scariest thing I’ve ever been through.”

Sara’s husband, Adrian Correa, said his wife and daughter were “getting pelted with hail and glass” while in the car, and there was nothing his wife could do about it. The Correa’s daughter suffered some scrapes, but was more startled by the hail storm than harmed, her parents said. Still, they took her to the emergency room just to be sure none of her injuries were serious.

The Correa’s weren’t the only ones who found themselves riding out the storm on the road. Several other drivers were forced to sit in their cars and wait out the storm along several North Texas highways. Tanner Kasper said he was in his truck when the several minute-long storm began. Kasper said he put his jacket over his head in order to shield his face from being hit by flying glass.

Schools closed following the storm in order to clean up the broken glass from the shattered windows, as well as assess water damage and damage to rooftop air conditioning units and electrical systems.

A spokesman for State Farm, the largest insurer in Texas, told Fox the company received more than 65,000 hail claims in the past month—a sum that is already greater than the number of hail-related claims the company received in all of 2015. Last year Texas saw 783 hail events and 240 tornadoes total. However, the spokesman said it’s too early to determine whether the storms the state has seen in 2016 will impact premiums in the future.

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