Ark., Okla., Texas Hammered with Storms; Damage Estimates Mount

April 10, 2008

An insurance industry trade organization estimates that preliminary damage from an April 8 Oklahoma hail storm has risen to $15 million and cautioned losses could increase significantly. Meanwhile, Northern Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas continued to be hammered with violent storms that produced tornadoes, hail, heavy rain and more flooding.

“Anyone who suffered damage from the storm should call their insurance agent immediately and begin making minor repairs to prevent further damage,” said Jerry Johns, president of Southwestern Insurance Information Service, after the April 8 Oklahoma storms. He added that most insurers will be assigning additional adjusters to the area and many will be bringing in adjusters from other parts of the country, Johns added.

Powerful storms hit parts of North Texas, eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas during the night of April 9 and into the early morning. The National Weather Service reported that the storms would move into eastern Arkansas during the day on April 10, adding woes to an area that has been indundated with heavy flooding for weeks and recently suffered multiple tornadoes.

Thousands in the three states faced power outages, flooding and damage from strong winds. There were media reports of at least one death.

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe on April 10 added six more counties to his state’s list of disaster declared areas due to damage caused by severe storms and heavy rains on April 3 and 4, the governor’s office reported.

The addition of the six counties brings to 52 the total number of counties to receive disaster declarations in recent weeks. Clark, Cleburne, Jefferson, Lee, Mississippi and Phillips Counties were added to the list that already includes the counties of Arkansas, Baxter, Benton, Boone, Carroll, Clay, Conway, Crawford, Craighead, Cross, Faulkner, Franklin, Fulton, Garland, Greene, Hot Spring, Howard, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Johnson, Lawrence, Logan, Lonoke, Madison, Marion, Monroe, Nevada, Newton, Perry, Pike, Pope, Prairie, Pulaski, Randolph, St. Francis, Saline, Scott, Searcy, Sharp, Stone, Van Buren, Washington, White, Woodruff and Yell.

The Associated Press reported that Oklahoma is also still feeling the effects of storms that passed through the state March 31. Two city bridges remain closed and dozens of homes are in need of repair after a storm system dumped more than 7 inches of rain on Coweta, Okla., in a 90-minute period. The infrastructure damage has been estimated at $306,000. Officials are awaiting word from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on whether the city will receive federal aid for recovery.

A total of 63 homes had some flood damage.

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