Storm leaves widespread damage

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks George Songer, owner of Rembrandt’s Auto Body in Clovis, points out hail damage Monday on a 2009 Honda Civic that occurred during Saturday’s night hail storm. Songer said, “this is one of 165 vehicles assignments that have come in for estimates the past six hours, and this is the most damage by hail for the past 15 years.”

By Jared Tucker: Freedom New Mexico

Mother Nature brought hail, rain and widespread damage to property over the weekend, which meant a big headache to auto body shops and insurance companies on Monday.

George Songer, owner of Rembrandt’s Auto Body Shop in Clovis, said he has received 165 new claims since 6 a.m. Monday morning.

“It (the damage) was widespread through Clovis. This is probably the worst we’ve seen in the 15 years I’ve lived here,” Songer said.

Chuck Jones, a forecaster for the National Weather Service, said Saturday’s storm dropped .62 inches of rain in Portales, making it the fifth wettest June 12 on record, and .67 inches of rain at Cannon Air Force Base. An exact rain amount for Clovis was not available, but Jones said the storm most likely dropped “well over an inch” of rain.

The hail damage is so widespread Songer said he can’t keep up with the number of claims coming into his direct-repair shop. Songer and two other managers are filling out claims, and “we can’t write them fast enough,” he said.

However, he said, a fellow business in Albuquerque has more personnel on the way to help make the repairs.

May Martinez-Hendershot, spokesperson for State Farm Insurance, said the company has a catastrophic loss team on the way from Albuquerque, and some members have already arrived in Clovis.

Hendershot said as of 3 p.m. Monday, State Farm has received 360 auto claims and 80 homeowner claims in the Clovis area relating to the storm, numbers she expected to increase over the next few days. Hendershot said the company is looking for a location to set up a drive-in auto claim center to make it easier for customers to file and process a claim.

Homeowners with hail damage should ask about impact-resistant roofing when they have their roof repaired, Hendershot said, noting it could result in a discount on homeowner’s insurance.

Jones said Curry and Roosevelt counties can expect to see good chances of thunderstorms until Wednesday, with highs staying in the mid- to upper 90s all week.

Some farmers took damage to crops on farms north of Clovis.

Hoyt Pattison, who farms about 13 miles north and 3 miles east of Clovis, said he probably lost about 15 to 20 percent of his wheat crop, which was about ready to harvest. He said he felt fortunate, and noted that he’d heard other farmers may have lost the majority of their crops to the storm.

Patrick Kircher, the extension agent for Roosevelt County, said he heard that trees were blown down in Elida and heavy hail fell west of Portales, but did not mention specific reports of crop damage in the area.

Attempts to contact Curry County Extension Agent Stan Jones for damage reports were unsuccessful.