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Shawnee neighbors pick up pieces after baseball-sized hail pelts their homes, vehicles

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Posted at 6:40 PM, Mar 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-14 19:40:42-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Residents across the Kansas City area are dealing with next-day hail damages after Wednesday night’s storm.

A large number of viewer photos and videos came from Shawnee, Kansas, which was hit with golf, tennis and baseball-sized balls of hail.

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The five senses were in full effect: sound, sight, touch, taste and smell.

It started with sound.

“It sounded like there were pumpkins being smashed on the top of our house. I had never heard anything like it before, so it scared us all,” said Michelle Nicole, a Shawnee resident who used her Facebook page to document her damage.

Nicole says all five of her cars were damaged with dents, and two of her sons had gotten their cars the week prior.

The sun roof in her son Joshua’s car was completely shattered.

“My heart just sunk because my kids had just got their vehicles on Friday, they had saved so hard for them, and I knew that there was nothing that we could do to save them,” Nicole said.

She wasn’t the only one feeling helpless.

Joshua says he wanted to run outside and at least put a blanket over the hail, but he had to choose between himself or his car.

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Joshua Elson looks at hail damage on his new car.

“Originally, I was really mad, honestly," Joshua Elson said. “The way I kind of look at things, everything kind of happens for a reason.”

Nicole says when she looked back at her videos, the hail lasted for a total of nine minutes.

Nine minutes of damage unfortunately turned into a much longer repair.

“The aftermath of this is going to take a very long time for our community to recover from,” she said. “I just immediately knew, man, I bet you we’re just going to have to pay this out of pocket or else just be punished monetarily by our insurance companies.”

The damage immediately brought up discussion about insurance claims, something residents across the area are filing.

One Shawnee resident, Chris Foster, plans to file one after the damage he saw to his home.

“The house definitely sustained damage to the gutters, more on the south, southwest side,” Foster said. “Roof also has damage as well. Had the roofing company out here to do an initial inspection, started the insurance claim.”

The roofing company that inspected his home Thursday morning was Brody Allen Exteriors, which was inspecting another home across the street from Foster when they caught his eye.

The Brody Allen workers say they drove from St. Louis after hearing about how bad the damage was here.

“We were sitting at home last night, seeing all the Facebook posts out here, just all the golf ball and tennis ball-sized hail we saw,” said Nathan Gearing, with Brody Allen Exteriors. “And we understand that the insurance process is not easy for everybody to go through, so we said, ‘Hey, let’s go help out these homeowners and see what we can do for ‘em.’”

Gearing says his company is used to working on roofs after hail damage, but that this round of hail came earlier than expected.

“Usually you’ll see it more so late March around that time,” Gearing said.

Something else they see comes from how rare hail like this is.

“A big thing we see is, these type of storms in particular, they only come around you know, every 10 years or so,” he said. “Fortunately, not a lot of people have to file a claim, so they get to a point where when something as catastrophic as something like this does happen, they don’t know what to do. So that’s where we come in too.”

Foster can attest to the fact that hail like this is rare.

“Been here in Shawnee for 10 years, but I’ve been here in Kansas City since the 90s, and this, by far, I’ve never seen hail like this before,” he said. “Lived here a long time, and we’ve been dodging the bullet for many years, and I figure at some point, we’re not going to be able to dodge that bullet, sounds like last night was that night.”

His sister, Lisa Foster, lives in the neighborhood across the street from him.

The baseball-sized hail she saw was enough to put holes in the top of her bird feeder.

Balls of hail in Shawnee

One good thing that came out of Wednesday’s night’s storm were the souvenirs.

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Chris Foster shows off a couple of hail balls he collected.

Foster collected fifteen golfball-sized pieces of hail, and so did Nicole’s 5-year-old neighbor, Rico Chavez.

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Rico Chavez compares ball of hail with tennis ball.

Something giving homeowners like Nicole comfort is knowing they’re not in this alone.

“We’re a strong community here in Woodsonia, and we help each other out,” she said. “We’ll get it fixed.”