Business at local insurance agencies and repair shops has been brisk this week after a hail storm that passed over parts of the Brazos Valley on Sunday caused damage to homes and vehicles.
Burleson County received the brunt of the damage, with Caldwell residents taking to social media with photographs of large chunks of hail. While there have been no injuries reported, the same can't be said of homes, businesses and vehicles.
Dan McElroy, a shop manager of Caldwell's Auto Frame & Body Works, said the small family business has seen a significant uptick in customers this week.
"We've had about 15 cars in here, many with windows blown out, things like that," he said Tuesday afternoon.
Windows and windshields were shattered, frames are dented and in some cases entire roof panels need replacing. Some vehicles' damage is so extensive that the replacement of entire pieces is recommended.
"It was incredible," McElroy said. "I've lived here a long time, and I've never seen anything like this before."
McElroy noted that insurance adjusters from various agencies have been stopping by frequently to take stock of their clients' cars. At Anco Insurance in Bryan, claims manager Oliver Sims confirmed that adjusters' plates have been full this week.
"We've reported easily five times the number of claims that we usually do," he said on Tuesday. "We're seeing cars, personal property, commercial property."
Most of these claims are coming from either Caldwell or Bryan-College Station. Hail and heavy winds also caused damage in Huntsville, so Anco is additionally assisting customers there. There have been more reports of vehicular damage than structural damage, he said. But roofs on homes have been battered, resulting in leaks, as have sky lights.
Isaac Lopez, a Farmers Insurance agent in Caldwell, said on Monday his office received in that one day alone the amount of claims normally dealt with over five months.
"I stopped counting claims after around the number 50," he said.
Farmers Insurance has not, at this point, classified the storm as a catastrophe, and Lopez said his branch will be able to handle the heavy workload. Lopez advised those whose property received damage to call their insurance agents immediately. He explained that a person's insurance agent will help them decide, based on their policy, whether the damage to their home or vehicle is worth filing a claim. In some instances, he said that filing a claim might financially burden a customer in the future, as there can be negative consequences of filing too many weather-related claims.
Most of Lopez's clients are dealing with home and auto damage, although he noted one person in Snook reported that their farm animals had been killed by the storm's strong winds.
Some businesses took a big hit in the storm, too. At Caldwell Country Chevrolet dealership, the vehicles parked outdoors didn't stand a chance.
"We sustained significant damage to almost all of our inventory on site in Caldwell, but our other locations weren't affected," wrote Zach Hester, the dealership's general manager, in an email to The Eagle. "We have been working closely with Chevrolet and have replacements on the way and will be offering significant discounts on the repairable vehicles that we have. We also have both body and paint [loss] dent repair people on site to help with both our inventory and the general public that was effected by the storm."
Duane Strange, Emergency Management Coordinator for Burleson County, said hail and wind weren't the only thing that hit the Caldwell area hard. First responders were called to a gas tank in Caldwell city limits on Sunday that had caught fire due to a lightning strike. The area around the natural gas line had been secured and the fire extinguished quickly and safely. A portion of Texas 36 that tends to flood frequently was temporarily water-logged on Sunday, too.
In Brazos County, Sheriff Chris Kirk and the Community Emergency Operations Center reported no weather-related emergencies or road closures.