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Hail causes about $250,000 in damage to cars at Hancock dealership

May 27, 2011|MAEGAN CLEARWOOD | maegan.clearwood@herald-mail.com
  • A storm accompanied by golfball-sized hail pummeled Hancock Thursday, damaging dozens of cars at an auto dealership. Stephen Douglas, owner of Douglas Motors, said the storm that blew through at about 5:30 p.m. damaged 80 cars on his lot, causing about $250,000 in damage.
By Caleb Calhoun, Staff Writer

A storm accompanied by golfball-sized hail pummeled Hancock Thursday, damaging dozens of cars at an auto dealership.

Stephen Douglas, owner of Douglas Motors, said the storm that blew through at about 5:30 p.m. damaged 80 cars on his lot, causing about $250,000 in damage.

The hail storm took him by surprise, Douglas said.

 He said that at first he was more concerned about wind damage, but when pea-sized hail started coming down, he took cover inside.

He watched as the five- to 10-minute storm blew through, but was unable to protect the cars from damage.

Douglas said the car dealership has been family-owned since 1938, and that this is the first time there has been damage to this extent.

"I've been here for 38 years. I've seen nothing like this as far as devastation, so I guess I've been pretty lucky," he said. "What's scary is this could happen every other week or day."

Both new and used cars were damaged by the hail, as were 12 to 15 cars belonging to customers that were on the lot, Douglas said.

Douglas said the hail dented many of the cars, resulting in about $3,000 of damage to each. Some vehicles, however, were more seriously damaged. For instance, the front windshield on one car was cracked, and the back window was shattered, resulting in about $8,000 in damage.

Douglas said that because his body shop will be swamped with damaged cars, repairs will take about two weeks.

"We'll get back to square one, but it will take us back two weeks as far as sales go," Douglas said.

Fortunately, Douglas and his employees were safely indoors during the course of the storm.

"No one's hurt that I know. That's the main thing," Douglas said. "It could be worse. We could be in Joplin, Missouri."

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