Year in Review: Effects of June storm still being felt across area
Editor's note: This story is part of a series recapping the top stories of 2017. Read the other top stories here.
The storm system that charged through New Richmond and surrounding areas on Sunday, June 11, 2017, brought with it torrential downpours, hail, thunder, lightning and wind.
Houses, cars and other items that weren't covered or brought in doors were damaged to one degree or another from the hail and wind, causing damage at homes and businesses. According to the National Weather Service, New Richmond received .32 inches of rain at the airport, while there were several reports of hail anywhere from 1-2 inches in the New Richmond and Somerset areas, according to stormersite.com.
According to New Richmond City Administrator Mike Darrow, the city had over 1,000 new building permits in 2017, with a majority of those coming from residents looking to replace their roofs or siding after the storm.
"The storm definitely had an impact on the community," Darrow said. "I've talked to several of the local contractors and they have told me that they are still busy and are booked into next year still."
Residents from all over the New Richmond area received damage to their houses and cars, but they all had different experiences with the storm.
"It was the first real severe storm my daughter Emma (who is 4) had a chance to witness," Star Prairie resident Samantha Olson said following the storm. "She thought the sky needed a timeout and now believes when the sky gets mad it throws ice cubes. Definitely one to remember!"
Another Star Prairie/Horse Creek resident, Bethany Stephens, said that there was a lot of hail damage in their area as well, and they were still without power 24 hours after it went out.
Not only were local residents affected by the storm, but local businesses and the New Richmond School District saw significant damage from the storm. According to Bernard's general manager Mike Montello, the dealership had around 400 cars to repair from the hail damage caused by the storm.
"At one time we have four to five paintless dent removal employees working on cars. But now we are back to normal wait times and are caught up on pretty much everything from that storm," Montello said last week. "I believe that the property side of things are not done yet when it comes to repairs from the storm damage. The demand has been overwhelming to try to get things fixed up in a reasonable time frame."
Montello said he was proud of how his dealership and the others in town took a straightforward approach to getting their customers' vehicles repaired in a timely manner.
"This is my second time going through something like this as a general manager and I hope that we don't see something like this again for a really long time," Montello said. "I thought it was very impressive to see how responsive the insurance companies were to their customers to allow them to get things fixed as soon as possible. I am still amazed at the scope of the damage that one storm caused."
The New Richmond School District is still dealing with the aftermath of the June storm, with much of the work to be done to repair the roofs and other school property damaged by the storm yet to be completed.
"Some of those repairs could start this winter already, some have fairly long lead times to receive the replacement parts and will wait until late spring or summer to be replaced," said Director of Fiscal & Building Operations Brian Johnston. "Some of the work has already been completed. The green houses at the high school and middle school had holes in them from the hail and those parts have already been replaced."
According to Johnston, the district, to this point, has received a cash value payment of $703,000. The replacement cost for all of the items damaged in the storm was valued at $1,083,000. The district is planning to replace items as it sees value in replacing most of those items with newer parts. When they are repaired the insurance company will pay the district the difference between the cash value and the replacement cost.