Denton and Collin counties were pounded by baseball- and golf ball-sized hail Sunday night that took out most of the school buses in one school district, shattered windshields and cracked skylights, setting up North Texas for an encore of spring 2016, the costliest storm year on record.
One tornado was reported by the Justin Fire Department in southern Denton County, but National Weather Service meteoroogist Bianca Villanueva said early Monday that the agency had not confirmed whether a twister had touched down.
Tarrant and Dallas counties were mostly spared but Villanueva warned that another round of severe storms is expected late Tuesday night and Wednesday.
“We’re expecting the bulk of the event to be on Wednesday,” Villanueva said. “At this point, the biggest threat appears to be heavy rain.”
Hail damage had a direct impact on operations at the Little Elm school district in Denton County, where 35 of 48 school buses were damaged. Bus routes were running about two and half hours late because of the damage, but school was starting on time.
State Farm spokesman Chris Pilcic said claims were pouring in from Denton and Collin counties.
“We’re getting claims from Lewisville, Little Elm, Frisco, McKinney and of course Argyle,” Pilcic said. “We’re seeing broken windows, skylights and cars so badly damaged they shouldn’t be driven.”
Pilcic said it’s too early to say whether these storms will rival last year’s DFW hail storms because adjusters are just starting to survey the damage.
State Farm had 145,00 hail claims just in Texas last year — 100,000 more than any other state, Pilcic said.
With more storms forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday, Pilcic advised homeowners to make short-term fixes.
“Temporary repairs like tarps and plywood are usually covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy,” Pilcic said.
Hail was first reported about 5:15 p.m. in Jack County near the town of Perrin and was quickly followed by reports of hail in Wise near Decatur, Bridgeport and Runaway Bay.
The Wise County County Sheriff’s Office had two patrol cars with damaged windows.
“I saw hail that was probably ping-pong size,” said Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin. “It seemed like the further east it went the worst it got.”
The Storm Prediction Center has forecast enhanced threat for severe storms — the third-most serious type of threat — northwest of Fort Worth on Tuesday and enhanced threat in East Texas on Wednesday. The Dallas-Fort Worth area is listed as being under a slight risk for severe storms, the fourth-most serious category, on both days.