Wind storm wreaks havoc throughout area

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The wind storm that blew through the area last Wednesday produced winds reportedly topping 90 km/hr and the impact was felt all over town.

Shingles were blown off of roofs, trees were toppled, power lines were knocked down and signs damaged as a result of the storm. Insurance agents were busy in the days following processing claims and advising clients.

A tree on Front Road South fell last Wednesday morning as a result of the high winds that blew through the region.

A tree on Front Road South fell last Wednesday morning as a result of the high winds that blew through the region.

Chris Gibb from Gibb Insurance said he had more calls in a 24-hour period than he has had in 20 years.

“We’ve had a greater volume of claims from this wind storm than we had from either of the flood events,” said Gibb. “(It) seems to be mainly roofs and fences that are damaged and damages stretch from Amherstburg all the way up to London.”

Weather events have been happening more and more, he believed.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing more and more of this and it is a direct result of climate changes that are affecting our weather patterns,” said Gibb.

Shingles come off of a roof of a Richmond St. home during the March 8 wind storm.

Shingles come off of a roof of a Richmond St. home during the March 8 wind storm.

In a blog post from his website he sent to the River Town Times, Gibb added that often people overestimate the damage to their homes. If people are unsure whether to file a claim, they are advised to try and clean up the damage themselves and document it by taking photos. If the damage turned out to be minor, a claim would not be the route to proceed, he indicated.

Tim Matlock from State Farm Insurance suspected five to ten per cent of Amherstburg homeowners suffered some sort of damage. Damage was mainly to shingles however wood fences and siding damage was also reported.

“Homeowners should try to complete emergency tarping and have patience,” said Matlock. “Much like the sump/sewer issue in 2010, the volume has put pressure on the contractor industry.”

The Walmart sign was blown out of the sign frame at the road along Sandwich St. S. during the storm. Amherstburg police had to briefly close the road to prevent the public from getting hit by debris.

The Walmart sign was blown out of the sign frame at the road along Sandwich St. S. during the storm. Amherstburg police had to briefly close the road to prevent the public from getting hit by debris.

Matlock added that he was very busy in the days that followed.

“Where I may take one claim in a day, I expect to field 30-50 over the next few days,” he told the RTT last Thursday. “However, I’d suspect there are more damages but the client, for various reasons, didn’t pursue a formal claim.”

Leonard Sharman, senior communications consultant with The Co-Operators Insurance, said they also saw a rise in claims.

A large tree was toppled on the former École St.-Jean Baptiste school playground on Brock St.

A large tree was toppled on the former École St.-Jean Baptiste school playground on Brock St.

“Indeed, we have seen had a lot of clients reporting claims – 417 so far from all over southern Ontario, and so far we have four in Amherstburg. It can sometimes take several days for clients to report claims, so we expect those numbers to grow,” Sharman said late last week. “In terms of the type of damage we are seeing, the most common damage seems to be with shingles blowing off roofs. The other main type of damage is from fences blowing over and trees falling, often onto structures such as houses and fences, and needing to be removed. These are all things that are normally covered under home insurance policies.”

 

 

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