Huge hail wreaks havoc

By Lindsey Gordon

Published 05/22 2014 10:12AM

Updated 05/23 2014 10:06AM

Update: 10:04 pm, 5/22/14, Thursday
TUSCOLA -- It was time to clean up Thursday. Wednesday’s hail storm left many businesses in need of repair. It punctured thousands of windows. WCIA-3’s Lindsey Gordon found out what the rush is all about.

At The Pharmacy on Main Street, they watched the storm from inside, waiting it out.

"You could tell that it was doing some serious damage," said Kelsey Phipps, an employee.

Serious enough it ripped holes in the roof causing multiple leaks.

"We've had buckets everywhere and we're just hoping it doesn't get on anything electrical and trying to work around it until they can get it fixed," said Phipps.

At the salon next door, it’s the same story.

"Oh there's a hole here," said salon owner Buffie Schelmadine, surveying the damage from the second-floor. "Between the three buildings, there's over 2,000 holes."

She said some of those holes are up to 4-inches wide. And something needs to be done fast.

"They're trying to get it fixed by next week because they're predicting rain on Wednesday," said Phipps.

Schelmadine said, "The next time it rains, we would be ruined."

She said a roofer came by after the storm Wednesday and again Thursday to estimate the work. He told her the whole thing needs replacing, but it won’t be cheap.

"We're about $15,000 right now. Could get up to $20,000. Just depends," said Schelmadine.

At The Pharmacy they were told it would cost at least $17,000.

Schelmadine is confident they can get it done soon. She said the roofer is committed to working through the weekend.

Along the city streets, the damage from the hail didn't leave any holes, but did create plenty of debris. Friends picked up rakes and pitched in.

"Clean-up's just started really. It's going to take a few days for everybody to get home and off work and see what they've got," said Rob Tuscola, who was out clearing up someone else’s yard.

Hardwick said he usually helps with yard work for his neighbor.

”I've taken care of her yard for years so it's just our day to, you know, come and take care of her."

"That's the good thing about Tuscola. They always come together," said Schelmadine.
Original: 10:03 pm, 5/21/14, Wednesday
TUSCOLA -- People here say they've never seen anything like it. Baseball-sized hail left glass everywhere and highway travelers stranded. WCIA-3's Lindsey Gordon talked to those who felt the impact.

Judging by the damage, Tuscola go the worst of the hail.

"You just couldn't get anywhere undercover. It was scary. It was extremely scary."

Amy Mitchell was passing through Illinois on her way to Wisconsin.

"Rain started coming down, and like pea-sized hail, and by the time we got off the bridge and came down, it was more like the size of the palm of your hand. The next thing you know, now there was a hole in the windshield."

People pulled off I-57 to this gas station to survey the damage. It was so bad on one vehicle, the driver left it here.

It wasn't just those on the road. Parked vehicles were left with massive dents and shattered glass.

"Wasn't too happy. I mean, we all got damage."

But, he isn't surprised.

"Welcome to Illinois."

Mitchell's car is a year old. She says she cried when she realized what had happened.

"I'm trying to find another car to take me up there because I can't drive like this."

The soonest she could get her windshield replaced is Friday and she just wants to get home. The National Weather Service says Willard Airport, in Savoy, also saw significant hail damage and Camargo endured three-inch hail.

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