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‘Denton Storm’ tab hits $300 million

Profile image for By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer

Insurance council states most damages were in Denton County

Recent storms that battered North Texas with softball-size hail and high winds caused about $300 million in property damage, primarily in Denton County, according to the Insurance Council of Texas.

The council, a trade group that represents about 500 property and casualty insurers in Texas, estimated that about 24,000 vehicles and 12,000 homes were damaged in what is now being referred to as the “Denton Storm.”

The council did not provide an estimate of how many of those homes and vehicles were in Denton County, but spokesman Mark Hanna said that the council expects the majority of the claims are from Denton and Denton County.

Jody Gonzalez, Denton County’s emergency management director, said the damage assessment seems accurate based on what he saw in storm damages.

“Multiple hailstorms — that is part of the key,” he said.

Gonzalez said a good 40 percent of that $300 million is likely auto-related. He said he has two personal vehicles and a roof with damage and is looking at several thousand dollars in repairs for each vehicle alone.

A series of storms formed just west of Denton and moved through populated areas last Thursday afternoon and evening, damaging buildings and vehicles from Krum to the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University before moving east for another 100 miles into Collin, Hunt and Hopkins counties. Warning sirens were activated in Denton, sending residents to seek shelter.

Denton residents suffered damage to vehicles, homes and businesses in two separate storms, one that rolled through at about 4:30 p.m. and another at about 6 p.m. Wind gusts measured as high as 82 mph at Denton Enterprise Airport during the evening. Another two waves of storms moved through before an advancing cold front finally made it to the area.

Several funnel clouds were spotted in Denton County, but the National Weather Service confirmed that no tornadoes touched down in Denton. Tornadoes were confirmed in eastern Collin, Hunt and Hopkins counties.

Farmersville reported one minor injury in connection with an EF0 tornado. Near the Hunt County town of Merit, five more people were injured after an EF1 tornado struck there. Another EF1 tornado touched down near Birthright in Hopkins County, according to the council.

In the Enhanced Fujita scale, an EF0 tornado has winds up to 85 mph and an EF1 tornado has winds up to 110 mph.

In a prepared statement, Hanna advised consumers to work with their insurance adjusters and look to local businesses for repairs to protect their investments.

“Insurance companies are moving as quickly as possible in assessing the damage to everyone’s property in the area,” Hanna said in the statement.

Staff writer Bj Lewis contributed to this report.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.