Damage from Texas hail storms could top $400 million

DALLAS Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:27pm EDT

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DALLAS (Reuters) - Several strong thunderstorms cut a swath through North Texas late on Wednesday, with baseball-sized hail stones smashing everything from car windshields to the marquee of a landmark East Dallas movie theater.

The hail storms were the worst in the North Texas and Dallas area since April 2003, the National Weather Service said on Thursday.

The storms likely caused hundreds of millions of dollars in insured losses, and may even top the $400 million in losses from a series of tornadoes two months ago, the Insurance Council of Texas said on Thursday.

No serious injuries were reported.

Two intense storms swept through the Dallas area late on Wednesday afternoon and lasted more than three hours before tapering off, said Jason Dunn, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

"This was definitely a multimillion-dollar hail storm," Dunn said. "A lot of car windshields were blown out and roofs damaged in Dallas."

Three people were hurt when the storm flipped over a mobile home in Fannin County northeast of Dallas, the National Weather Service said. The three were treated in hospital and released, said Fannin County Emergency Coordinator Darrell Brewer.

Hail smashed the marquee of the landmark Lakewood Theatre in East Dallas. A glass sculpture by artist Dale Chihuly at the Dallas Arboretum suffered minor damage, arboretum officials said.

The storms also shredded trees and blanketed streets with downed limbs and leaves. About 6,000 homes and businesses lost power, but this was restored by Thursday morning, said Megan Wright, a spokeswoman for electricity provider Oncor.

More than 40 flights were diverted and 10 delayed at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on Wednesday evening. Airport officials said service was back to normal on Thursday.

(Additional reporting by Ben Berkowitz. Editing by Tom Brown, Corrie MacLaggan and David Brunnstrom.)

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