• Monday, May 16, 2011

ANDREWS SC — State residents in the past few weeks have suffered the most weather-related damage since Hurricane Hugo, an insurance spokesman said yesterday.
Bruce White, a spokesman for State Farm Insurance, said as of Thursday morning more than 1,800 damage claims had been filled in South Carolina due to Tuesday’s storms.  That is on top of the 20,000 claims made because of tornado and hail outbreaks across the state on April 16.
 White said he has not seen this many claims filed from storms in a single month since Hurricane Hugo struck in 1989.
“The only fortunate thing is almost all of the claims have been for cosmetic reasons, like dents and dings to cars. Not seeing the devastation claims from this week’s storms for destroyed homes,” White said.
Local State Farm agent Linda Edwards said her office filed paperwork for more than 100 customers on Wednesday, the day after a hail-producing system pounded portions of Georgetown County.
According to the National Weather Service, the first severe storms moved through the western area of the county early Tuesday evening. Ironically, these are the same areas of the county that received the worst damage in mid-April when a tornado-spawning storm system hit the state.
The size of the hail ranged from quarter size — reported in Rhems and one mile east-southeast of Andrews between 8:30 p.m. to 9:10 p.m. — to 4.5 inch in diameter reported in the Sampit area.
A second storm that moved through at about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday did produce quarter-sized hail in the Murrells Inlet area and  caused a tree to fall on Hazard Street in the City of Georgetown.
Stacy Elliott, who has family members who live in Andrews, said two of her relatives now have vehicles in need of body repair because of the storm.
She said her Aunt Judy Miller and her grandmother, Barbara High, have vehicles  with severe dent damage caused by the hailstones.  Her aunt’s vehicle also suffered windshield damage.
The volume of damage has  Freddie Martin, owner of Freddie’s Body Shop near Andrews, looking to possibly hire temporary help.
He said he looked at more than 20 vehicles that were taken to his shop on Wednesday. He said typically, he works on two or three cars daily.
He said new hoods and trunk lids will need to be ordered for some of the vehicles while repairs can be made to others. He also said because of the number of glass damage cases across the state, his windshield  supplier ran out of inventory quickly Wednesday causing a delay in getting repairs made for some of his customers.
Because he has been so busy, Martin has not had time to take care of damage he received from the storm. He said both of his wreckers were damaged and the roof to his shop may need to be replaced.
The bad news is more stormy weather is expected over the weekend in Georgetown County.

By Scott Harper

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