Huge Hailstorm Wreaks Havoc in Omaha

Automobile insurance companies have been flooded with claims in the wake of the devastating hailstorm that hit Omaha, Neb., on June 29. Thousands of cars were damaged by the baseball-sized frozen precipitation.

For example, State Farm, which handles about a quarter of all property damage policies in Nebraska, has reported more than 5,000 claims as of this week, according to the Omaha World-Herald. About 3,700 of those were for damaged vehicles.

By way of comparison, two tornadoes that touched down in the Omaha area last month resulted in about 2,440 State Farm claims, according to the newspaper.

As expected, auto glass installers have been swamped with work requests.

“Friday morning we all came in to a triage situation,” said Rich Lutton, owner and operator of Metro Glass in Omaha. “Basically, the storm was pretty widespread. It kind of hop-scotched around town in different areas dropping huge balls of ice.”

Lutton said the nature of the storm caused widespread damage.

“There wasn’t a lot of wind, so it just dropped straight down, so what we’re seeing are every car that’s in here needs back glass, half of them need windshields and half of them need sunroofs,” he said. “That’s kind of the damage we’re looking at.”

Lutton said the storm has strained his company’s resources, but things are improving.

“This happened Thursday night and by Friday at noon were out over a week in helping people out,” he said. “It really hit hard and at first there wasn’t enough glass, but that’s starting to turn around. There’s a lot of glass headed to Omaha right now. “

It was a similar situation at other shops in the Omaha area.

“It’s been heavy, nonstop,” Scott Bleyhl, owner of River City Glass in Omaha, told the World-Herald. “We’re just telling people first come, first served.”

According to the World-Herald, State Farm has opened a drive-thru claims office near 84th Street and Giles Road and plans to set up an office soon in northeast Omaha, where most of the damage occurred.

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