May 15 storm damage in North Texas estimated at $250 million

Posted Saturday, May. 25, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Tornado tips • Designate a shelter area in your home or place of business, such as a basement, and go there during severe weather. • If you don’t have a basement or underground shelter, go to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture. Lower-level interior bathrooms provide the best protection if no basement is available. Don’t seek shelter in bathrooms that have a window or an exterior wall. • Stay away from windows. • Always abandon mobile homes. • If you’re in a vehicle and no shelter is available, get out and find the lowest-lying area. Lie flat on your stomach and cover your head with your hands. • For a list of storm shelter manufacturers who meet the National Storm Shelter Association building standards, go to www.nssa.cc/ProducerRoster.php Source: www.knowwhat2do.com

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The May 15 storms in North Texas that included tornadoes and hail produced an estimated $250 million in insured losses, according to an insurance industry group.

Mark Hanna, spokesman at the Insurance Council of Texas in Austin, said insurers are getting claims from at least six counties, from Palo Pinto in the west to Ellis to the east. He said that while the tornadoes that hit Granbury and Cleburne received most of the attention, “there was as much hail damage as tornado damage,” judging by insurance claims.

Hanna said it has been hard to estimate the damage because “it was so widespread.”

Six people were killed and dozens were injured in Granbury and Hood County when an EF4 tornado with winds up to 180 mph hit that area. An EF3 tornado that hit Cleburne and Johnson County had peak winds of 140 mph.

They were among 16 tornadoes reported in North Texas that evening.

Hanna said grapefruit-size hail was reported in Mineral Wells and wind damage in downtown Ennis.

His group’s estimate counts only damage to insured properties. There are always additional uninsured and underinsured losses, he said.

It’s the third weather disaster in just over a year in North Texas to rack up at least $250 million in insured losses.

On April 3, 2012, an EF2 tornado swept through Kennedale and Arlington, another EF2 hit Lancaster and an EF3 hit Forney, east of Dallas. Those storms produced $775 million in insured damage.

On June 13, 2012, a storm with baseball-size hail pummeled cars and roofs in Dallas. That resulted in $890 million in insured losses.

None of those approach the devastation in Moore, Okla., where an EF5 tornado killed 24 people Monday and destroyed thousands of homes. There is no estimate of insured damage yet, but local officials and the Oklahoma Insurance Department have said it could top $2 billion.

Jim Fuquay, 817-390-7552 Twitter: @jimfuquay

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