6 posts categorized "Weather"


Insured damages from May 15 tornadoes estimated at $250 million

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 seeing claims from at least six counties, from Palo Pinto in the west to Ellis in the east. He said that while the tornadoes that hit Granbury and Cleburne received most of the news coverage, “there was as much hail damage as tornado damage,” judging by insurance claims.

Hanna said it’s been difficult to come up with an estimate of damage because “it was so widespread.”

Six deaths and dozens of injuries were reported in Granbury, where a tornado cut a swath about 100 yards wide and a mile long, and 80 mph winds were reported in Cleburne. Hanna said there were also reports of grapefruit-size hail in Mineral Wells and wind damage in downtown Ennis in a day that ultimately counted 16 separate tornadoes.

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

-- Jim Fuquay


Dallas hail storm producing rental car shortage, insurance group says

 The massive June 13 hailstorm in Dallas -- estimates of damage from insurers run between $1 billion and $2 billion -- is creating a shortage of rental cars at Love Field and elsewhere i the city, says the Insurance Council of Texas. The industry group says about 70,000 vehicles were damaged in storm, "and vehicle owners with rental reimbursement coverage are using rental cars until their vehicles are repaired in local body shops." You might want to confirm that reservation, suggests ICT's Mark Hanna. ICT quotes Ted Maniscalco, a spokesman for Enterprise Rent A Car, saying companies are pulling additional rental vehicles from around the state and outside Texas. Not only that, but "car rental companies, just like Dallas motorists, were hit by the hailstorm, putting many vehicles out of service. "Body shops are telling vehicle owners that they may have to wait six to eight weeks before their vehicles can be repaired," ICT says.. 

ICT estimates insured damages from the hailstorm at more than $1 billion. Earlier this week, Southwest Insurance Information Service, another trade group, said that when you count "tens of thousands" of homeowners' claims for roof damage, insured damages could hit $2 billion. The record for insured damage from hail in the state was $1.1 billion in 1995, according to the ICT.

-- Jim Fuquay



Texas' wildfire losses now expected close to $200 million, Texas A&M says

New info in on Texas' wildifre losses this year. The Texas AgriLife Extension Service earlier today said ag losses had topped $150 million.

A few minutes ago, the service updated that figure to nearly $200 million, based on updated info on estimated timber losses.

Timber losses are now estimated at $97 million, up from the $48.1 million the service estimated earlier today, said Andy Vestal, of the service.

- Scott Nishimura

Recovery from wildfires could take years, firm says

Texas acreage blackened by wildfires may see reductions in value of as much as 50-60 percent, and “a full recovery could take years,” Lewis Realty Advisers, a Texas real estate appraisal and consulting firm, says.

Property studded with pine trees can be restored within 10 years, but land with slower growing oaks may not be fully replenished for over 20 years, says Kim Kobriger, the firm’s managing partner.

"The wildfires have destroyed the trees and the intrinsic value of large swaths of Texas landscape," Kobringer said. "Pasture land that supported livestock will bounce back quickly after significant rainfall. But timberland and property used for suburban residences may not recover for a decade."

The full extent of the loss of value to Texas’ lands will not be determined until some of the burned properties are sold to establish current market value, Kobringer said. Unlike residential structures, land is not generally covered by insurance.

With the reduced value of the burned land, smaller banks holding the loans may need to foreclose on the land to maintain capital requirements, Kobringer said.

"Smaller banks may not be able to sustain the loss of the burned land on their books and the landowners may not be given loan extensions," Kobriger said. "Larger institutions are likely to have the flexibility to extend the loans."

- Scott Nishimura

Stockyards Championship Rodeo, Russell Feed, launch hay drive for neglected animals

Stockyards Championship Rodeo is teaming with Russell Feed to launch a Hay Drive to benefit the nonprofit Ranch Hand Rescue and abandoned or neglected ranch animals.

A portion of ticket proceeds from Friday night’s (Sept. 23) rodeo will benefit Ranch Hand Rescue, and volunteers will be passing the “bucket” in the audience seeking cash donations. The rodeo, in the Cowtown Coliseum, 121 E. Exchange Ave., also will be taking in hay donations all day long Friday, said Nate Krieger, the rodeo’s marketing director.

Additionally, Russell Feed stores are accepting donations for the next week, and you can also visit the Ranch Hand Rescue site for more info and to donate.

Krieger said the drive “will be the first of many” to benefit Ranch Hand Rescue. He noted hay prices have skyrocketed in recent months.

The idea for the drive came from a fan on the rodeo's Facebook page.

“With the drought and wildfire on top of that, there just isn’t anything growing here in Texas,” he said. Adding in the cost of transporting hay here from states such as Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, and New Mexico, he said prices have “tripled to quadrupled just in the last six months.”

- Scott Nishimura

Texas' ag-related wildfire losses top $150 million this year

Texas' estimated agricultural losses from this year's wildfires have topped $150 million, the Texas AgriLife Extension Service reported today. "Additional assessment continues across the state," the service said.

Here are updated loss figures:

  • $48.1 million in timber
  • 2.9 million acres
  • 198 agricultural structures
  • 21 pieces of agricultural equipment
  • Cattle: 1,133
  • Calves: 142
  • Sheep: 19
  • Horses: 20
  • Goats: 210
  • Fence: 5,965 miles

The fence estimates are from fires on 2,500 acres or greater. The pasture estimates are from fires on 500 acres or greater.

For Texas wildfire maps and additional home, family and landowner/producer educational resources, visit the Texas Extension Disaster Education Network website and look under the “Hot Topics” tab.  For daily wildfire updates, click here.

- Scott Nishimura


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