Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Hail damage reports piling up

Storm centered in Loveland area

By Jennifer Edwards jedwards@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LOVELAND — A fierce hail storm that hit here and nearby areas Friday caused about $7 million in damage to homes, barns and cars, State Farm Insurance Co. officials said Monday.

        Those figures are for State Farm policyholders only. Total damage will likely be much higher.

        Hardest hit were homes on the edge of Morrow toward Pleasant Plain, where gusty winds blew hail larger than golf balls sideways, firing it into homes like gunshots, tearing off shutters and pelting roofs and siding, insurance and fire officials said.

        By noon Monday 450 claims had been made, with 2,500 overall expected. Most were for home damage. But nearly as many — about 40 percent — were for cracked windshields and dented car roofs and hoods, insurance agents said.

        The storm blew through shortly before 5 p.m. for about 45 minutes, wreaking havoc in Symmes, Deerfield and Hamilton townships, before veering southeast toward Goshen, Pleasant Plain and a corner of Brown County, firefighters reported.

        “It was such a unique, freak thing,” said Jon Hopkins, agent and owner of the State Farm Insurance office in the Landen/Maineville area. “We've had quite a few people with multiple claims. It happened at a poor time, just as everyone was coming home from work, so we had a lot of cars that got pelted. One guy who called in said within a mile of his house, it looked like it had snowed.”

        Brian Maze, spokesman for State Farm Insurance Cos. in Newark, Ohio, said he expected up to 2,500 claims from the area totaling $7 million in damages from the hailstorm, mostly in Loveland and Clermont County.

        He said a total of claims overall from the storms, which brought much rain Sunday, hadn't come in yet.

        The storm nearly took the life of Anthony Picolo, 3, who apparently slipped about 5:45 p.m. Friday into a swollen Miami Township creek outside his home in the 300 block of Wards Corner Road, firefighters said.

        Anthony's mother, Rickie Picolo, tried to rescue him before firefighters arrived. She was pulled out of the creek by neighbors, Miami Township Fire Chief Jim Whitworth said Monday. Firefighters rested a ladder over the raging creek and crawled on top of it to snatch the boy to safety.


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