April ushered in with large hail, heavy rain

Pictured, this semi splashes up standing water Thursday afternoon in the 300 block of North Market Street. Much smaller vehicles had to move over into the southbound lane. (Alan Dooley photo)

Following a snowy winter, hail and rain took center stage last week in Monroe County, dinging vehicles and homes and flooding roadways as a rude opening act for spring.

Hail the size of golf balls fell along with raindrops last Wednesday, followed by severe thunderstorms Thursday morning and evening.

A flash flood warning was issued Thursday afternoon, with several homes in Monroe County experiencing flooded basements and multiple roadways in and around Waterloo noted as impassable due to high water.

Recorded rainfall totals from Wednesday through Friday, as reported by certified WeatherUnderground.com stations in the area, were 3.75 inches in Waterloo, 3.54 inches in Columbia and 3.23 inches in Millstadt.

Unofficial rainfall readings of four inches were also reported in the county.

Waterloo insurance offices were busy fielding calls in the wake of last Wednesday’s hail.

“We are thinking about 20 to 30 (hail-related) calls regarding damage,” Jamie Augustine of A&W Insurance said. “But some may have called the company directly and we have not seen some of those yet.”

Chuck Pittman of State Farm Insurance in Waterloo reported that his office received six homeowner claims and seven auto claims resulting from hail damage.

“We estimate that we’ve taken at least 60 calls,” Pittman said. “A number of those that called will be getting a contractor to look at their roofs to determine the amount of damage before filing a claim, so we may hear from some of hem in the coming weeks.”

Brett Weigand of Petri Insurance of Waterloo said his office also received claims on their home or vehicle, but no amounts are currently available in terms of total damage because that is still being estimated.

“As severe as the storm was, it was isolated damage and didn’t affect as many people as we first anticipated,” Wiegand said.

Wiegand also recommended that everyone talk to their insurance representative to get assistance in the process of checking into a possible claim.

Another important factor, Wiegand stressed, is to use a reputable contractor for repairs.

“Ask a friend, neighbor or a material supplier like a lumber yard that works with the contractors for a reference,” Wiegand said. “Before contacting someone that left a card or flier in your mailbox, check into the credibility and track record of their work.”

Hail damage to cars can usually be verified by a body shop before turning in a claim that may or may not result in repairs.

“Some of the people that sought estimates have been told that warm temperatures will remove small dents left by the recent storm,” he added. “Please consult an accredited auto body shop for a professional opinion.”




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