Weather could take toll on cars, houses, power

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– Severe weather is on its way here in Central Texas with possible hail, wind and rain so residents should get their flashlights and candles ready because that could mean power outages.

Austin Energy says they’re watching the forecast just like everybody else.

“We all anticipate getting a phone call around midnight saying ‘here’s where the storm is, please come in let’s get started,'” said Austin Energy director of communications Robert Cullick.

Cullick says they’re calling in crews to help with customer service.

“We’ve also though called in crews for tree trimming, for inspections, for trouble shooting and make sure that we have as much, as many people and as many trucks available as we can,” he said.

Cullick encourages customers to sign up for outage text alerts and to make sure they know where their breaker box is.

“Because when the power goes out, it often flips the breakers and when we ask people to go out and check their breakers,” Cullick said.  

For Austin Energy, it is the lightning and wind that is a concern, but hail is a big problem for cars and houses.

Trey Pool, with Dentworks of Austin, has been busy fixing cars with some hail damage from last week.

“Any time there’s hail within 50 or so miles from here, I get some work from it but when we get a direct hit, which we haven’t had in quite a while it will get crazy around here,” Pool said.  

Pool says when Austin gets a direct hit that’s when he brings in extra workers and puts in longer hours.

“I may have to rent an extra building because they’ll just be for the first few months there’ll just be so many cars,” Pool said.

Whether the hail situation gets that bad this time, Pool says he’ll believe it when he sees it.

Lee Loftis, Government Affairs Director for Independent Insurance Agents of Texas, says that if you have comprehensive coverage on your vehicle, there is no reason to not file a claim for hail damage.

“Comprehensive coverage is what it’s called that protects against hail and the natural disasters or whatever,” Loftis said. “If you have that coverage, then there’s no reason not to file a claim.  Again if we’re having significant hail like we’re hearing that’s a possibility tonight, it’s not going to be a question of whether you have damage or not, large hail can significantly damage a vehicle.”

As for roof damage, Loftis says going with a local company is the best way.

“We do hear of sometimes storm chasers coming in following storms and that’s not to say that all of those are bad actors but we don’t know as much about some of those folks coming in,” Loftis said. 

Austin Energy also says to stay away from downed power lines and that if a cable is spotted on the ground, it can be dangerous up to 30 feet away. If a downed power line is spotted, residents are advised to call 311.