Thunder Tour to Focus on Early Storm Season

02/27/2017

A team of insurance spokesmen will be in west Texas this week to provide advice and information to homeowners and businesses before the start of what could be another severe spring thunderstorm season.  The “2017 Thunder Tour” will include Mark Hanna from the Insurance Council of Texas (ICT), Chris Pilcic from State Farm, as well as State Farm and independent insurance agents who will be speaking with reporters advising homeowners to be prepared. 

This year, Texans have already witnessed 28 tornadoes touch down in various parts of the state causing extensive damage and fortunately few injuries. Eleven tornadoes were recorded in January and so far, 17 tornadoes have struck in February.  Last year’s storm season started March 1 and produced a record 500,000 hail claims and $4 billion in insured losses.  By comparison, in 2015, tornadoes and hailstorms starting pounding the state in mid-March.

“If the last three years is any indication, our storm season appears to be starting earlier every year,” said ICT’s Mark Hanna.  “We have had an unusually warm year thus far and we can only hope this is no prelude to another rough spring filled with severe thunderstorms.”

Paul Yura, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in New Braunfels, said portions of the state have already had a fairly active year when it comes to severe weather, including tornadoes, but it’s too early to tell whether this early start to severe weather season is a trend that will continue in future years. 

“There have been severe winter weather outbreaks in past decades as well,” said Yura.  “They tend to occur more often during El Nino Fall/Winter patterns, but frankly all you need is the right atmosphere and ingredients in place.  The storms don't care what month it is."

Beginning in Wichita Falls on February 28, Hanna, Pilcic, and insurance agents, will be giving media interviews and offering advice to homeowners to assist them in dealing with the aftermath of damaging thunderstorms. . 

The Thunder Tour will also include stops in Amarillo, Lubbock, Odessa, Midland, San Angelo and Abilene, and consists of more than 20 interviews with local newspapers, radio and TV stations.  

Pilcic said he hopes the advice offered on the tour will help make the claims process a little easier for homeowners who may have to make a claim for the first time. 

“Anyone who has experienced a severe storm knows the damage to home and property can be overwhelming, emotionally and financially,” Pilcic said.  “Although it is impossible to know exactly when a disaster will strike, we are here to help residents be prepared and quickly recover from the unexpected. The ability to weather the storm may depend on the measures you take now.”