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Damage estimate hits $500 million

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

About 35,000 vehicles, 22,000 homes need repair after April storms

Damages are now estimated at $500 million from the devastating storms that brought high wind and baseball-size hail last month to much of North Texas, including Denton County, according to a statewide insurance group.

The Insurance Council of Texas, which represents about 500 property and casualty insurers statewide, had previously estimated that the series of storms on April 3 had caused about $300 million in damage.

“When it’s all said and done, the storm will have damaged at least 35,000 automobiles and approximately 22,000 homes,” said council spokesman Mark Hanna in a prepared statement.

The estimate does not include how many of those homes and vehicles were in Denton County, but most were in the county, officials have said.

The storms spawned at least four confirmed tornadoes as they moved eastward. At least four funnel clouds were spotted in Denton County but they apparently did not touch down, officials have said.

The new estimate reflects more than twice the original number of homes damaged and about 11,000 more vehicles than originally thought.

At Gene’s Paint and Body Shop on South Locust Street in Denton, shop owners Darrell and Gail Jenkins are scheduling some vehicle repairs into February of next year so that they can still take care of people whose cars aren’t driveable or who have been in accidents since then.

Darrell Jenkins said the storm damage is some of the worst he has ever seen. He has repaired cars for 46 years, since he was 15 years old.

He has to go back to the 1979 tornado in Wichita Falls to compare, he said. That year, the shop got a lot of work from that area, including work on a brand new Chrysler Cordoba that had mud pressed behind all its moldings and looked as if it had been sandblasted with tiny pebbles.

With the April 3 storms, Jenkins said he has seen holes the size of tennis balls and baseballs in back windows and cars simply totaled from the damage.

Gail Jenkins said that they know most people’s insurance won’t cover more than 30 days of car rental, so they are calling people when they can work them in.

Some body shops have kept the vehicles all this time while they try to finish the work, Darrell Jenkins said.

Today marks one month since the storms hit the area, Jenkins said.

“It will be interesting,” he said.

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