Spring Storms Wreak Havoc in Grapeland
By Will Johnson
GRAPELAND – Spring storms ripped through the Grapeland area on Saturday, April 6 leaving a trail of damaged roofs and vehicles in their wake.
It was a dreary, rainy afternoon one moment and then suddenly it was hailing. This was no ordinary hail, either. The frozen precipitation ranged from pea-sized hail in Crockett and Palestine, to golf ball or baseball-sized hail in Grapeland.
There were even reports of grapefruit/softball-sized hail in the area.
“I witnessed some baseball or softball sized hail,” Houston County Emergency Management Coordinator / Fire Marshal Roger Dickey said.
“I’ve been here my entire life and it’s the biggest I can remember seeing. We contacted our insurance company e we had some damage at the fire station. That’s understandable because probably every roof in Grapeland …” Dickey said.
He went on to say he had not heard of any reports of injuries but added a structure fire later on Saturday evening may be attributed to lightning associated with the storm. Dickey further indicated there did not appear to be tremendous amounts of wind damage.
“We did have a funnel cloud that was sighted over Vulcraft and the sirens went off,” he added. “There was no confirmation of any touch downs but we were this close.”
Asked about possible livestock loss, Dickey replied he had not heard of any as of yet “… but there certainly could have been. No doubt.”
As far as damage estimates, Dickey said it was still too early to put a price tag on the damages.
Unfortunately, two of the things which travel along with hail are “storm chasers” and unethical contractors.
While area residents are encouraged to use local roofers first, the amount of storm damage may force homeowners to seek repair work from elsewhere.
According to a public service announcement (PSA) from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), “Several areas across Texas saw heavy storms this past weekend. “Homeowners in the central and southern parts of the state may be finding themselves having to deal with damage from lightning, hail, high winds and even a possible small tornado that hit San Gabriel.”
The PSA further stated, “Now is the time when ‘storm chasers,’ or unethical contractors begin coming through areas trying to con people out of their money for property repairs. It’s an important time to remember to do your research before deciding on a contractor to use for repair work and never pay full price for a project up front.”
For those who experienced damage to their homes or property in the recent severe weather, the BBB offers the following tips to help home and business owners protect their money and property:
- Contact your insurance company.
- Do your research.
- Resist high-pressure sales.
- Be especially careful of door-to-door contractors.
- Don’t sign over insurance checks to contractors.
- Be wary regarding damages you can’t see.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com.