DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Staggering new estimates on the damage caused by Wednesday’s hail storm now predict it will top $1.5 billion dollars, according to the Southwestern Insurance Information Service.
The nonprofit, representing insurers in Texas and Oklahoma, based that estimate on claims received in the first 36 hours following the storm.
Striking during the afternoon rush hour, the storm may have damaged as many as 60,000 cars as they headed home, said spokeswoman Sandra Helin.
Getting an appointment to repair your car’s hail damage or renting a temporary replacement could be difficult. Auto body shops, windshield repair businesses, and rental car companies all report being strained by the sudden surge in business.
“It’ll be backed up pretty severely, pretty quickly,” said Alan Walne, of Herb’s Paint and Body Shops.
Walne said some locations are already booked for hail damage repair through August, with some space in their schedule reserved for urgent collision damage.
He said the company is still dealing with cars damaged during the April tornadoes.
“We’re seeing lots of really bad damage,” said Walne.
The cars they’ve seen so far, though, show the size and strength of the hailstones that fell this week.
“When you have a piece of hail that penetrates through, or sags a windshield; that is really, really bad hail,’ said Walne. “You just don’t see that. That’s remarkable.”
Rental car agencies, meanwhile, say they’re trying to meet the needs of customers, looking for temporary transportation.
The Enterprise Rent A Car on U.S. 75 and Walnut Hill was adding names to a waiting list and warning it might be next week before it had a car available.
The corporate office said local branches would be extending their hours on Saturday and Sunday, and increasing the supply of cars in affected areas.
Insurers are estimated tens of thousands of homes also suffered damage to their roofs and interiors.
Among them are a number of historic properties, like the Aldredge Home on Dallas’ Swiss Avenue.
“This was a part of history, Dallas history,” said Joanne Fay, a volunteer at the house.
The house suffered several broken windows, a shattered greenhouse, and chipped patio tiles that date back to when the house was first built in 1917.
“You can actually see the round impact marks,” said Fay.
She said, the house has appeared in several TV shows and was even used to film the pilot episode of the original Dallas series, posing as the inside of the Southfork Ranch.