BLAIR, NE – Hail hit parts of Washington County hard Monday. Authorities said the storm that rolled through Blair around 4 p.m. dropped hail that broke windows all over town, even shredded siding off of homes. It also was responsible for widespread vehicle damage.
Accounts of how big the hail that fell was vary from golf ball- to baseball-sized. Much of that was still visible six hours later, collected on sidewalks throughout Blair. Home and business owners were still working to board up their shattered windows.
Some of the worst damage hit the Woodhouse car dealership. On its facebook page Monday night Woodhouse said it had more than 4,500 vehicles damaged at its Blair and Missouri Valley dealerships. The dealer estimated the damage at more than $152 million, even joking that a hail sale was imminent.
Nearby businesses were shut down after the severe weather rolled out, though steady showers lingered in the area.
“The wind was almost going sideways,” said Sam and Louie’s Pizza owner Patty Davey. “It looped around and I could see it swirling. It hit everything. I couldn’t even get out the back door to look at my car. It was holding it shut.”
Downtown Blair businesses were shredded too. Steve Roberts and his family spent the night without power, drying out their café, Lady and a Ladle. Roberts said he turned the power off because the roof was damaged so badly he worried the leaking water would spark a fire.
“If you look down the street, it looks like a war zone. The building is just beat up with this great big hail that came by,” Roberts said.
Blair police confirmed the hail injured 12 at the city’s Walmart store.