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After the Storm

EAGLE POINT — Mesmerized as a freak electrical storm hit their neighborhood Aug. 1, Eric and Marilynn Yarborough gasped as golf-ball-sized hail pelted their house next to the Eagle Point Golf Club.

"It sounded like golf balls hitting the roof," said 62-year-old Marilynn.

Some of their plants were destroyed and a few statues were broken, but otherwise the Yarboroughs thought they'd weathered the 20-minute onslaught fairly well.

But this month, as they noticed neighbor after neighbor replacing roofs after the fall rains came, it dawned on them they better get their own roof checked. Now they're listening to the sounds of workers clambering overhead, installing new shingles.

"The roof was totaled," Eric said.

He said neighbors had other problems such as broken windows, crumbled garage doors and battered air conditioners.

The storm has been a boon to roofing companies and other contractors trying to survive the recession.

"It's not Obama's stimulus package," said Eric. "It's Mother Nature's."

Shane Neville, foreman for Pressure Point Roofing, which is installing the Yarboroughs' new roof, said his company has replaced three roofs so far and has bids out on two or three others around the golf course.

Several other roofing companies are also working in the area, he said.

Many roofs had damage to metal valleys, heat vents and pipe covers.

"One guy said he had hail that was baseball-sized," said Neville.

Ron Bieraugel, who lives near the golf course, said the hailstorm dumped two inches on his driveway.

Neighbors had to have their cars repainted or windows replaced in their vehicles.

"My garage door looked like a waffle iron," he said. "I was just shocked as I was walking the dogs and people showed me their damage."

Bieraugel said he had to have his roof replaced, bringing damages on his four-year-old house to $11,000. But some of his neighbors needed $15,000 worth of repairs, he said.

A neighbor down the street counted 265 broken Spanish tiles, and the insurance company decided to replace the whole roof, said Bieraugel.

He said people didn't realize the extent of damages at first. "My sister was in denial," he said.

Hail pummeled his heat pump so hard that the cooling fins have been severely damaged, said Bieraugel. The unit will be replaced with a more energy-efficient model after the first of the year, he said.

Shrubbery also took a beating. The storm destroyed 90 percent of the leaves on spruce and pine trees in his front yard. He said he replaced the trees, which weren't covered by insurance.

Hank Rademacher, an agent with County Financial in Eagle Point, said he personally has dealt with at least a dozen clients whose homes received some kind of damage.

"Most of them are centered around the golf course community and out to Stevens Road," he said. "On Keystone Way, there was a string of five houses in a row that all had to have their roofs replaced."

Sometimes one house would sustain severe damage, while the one next to it would go unscathed, Rademacher said.

Generally, the roofs that have a 50-year lifespan survived better than other roofs, particularly those that are less than 30 years, Rademacher said.

He said he's received claims for vehicles as well.

Eagle Point planner Bunny Lincoln said the city hasn't calculated how many homes were affected by the hailstorm because most of the owners don't need permits for repairs.

"As long as they are not doing anything structural, it doesn't require permits," she said.

Lincoln said she knows several homes that were damaged by the hailstorm, including her own.

"It took me hours and hours to clean up my swimming pool and backyard," she said.

Her house didn't sustain any damage, though.

Rick Holtz, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Medford, said large hail usually falls in narrow bands.

Sometimes an area a half-mile away can escape without any hail, he said.

"When you are getting up to that size of an inch or more in diameter, it is somewhat rare here in the valley," he said. "We can go a number of years and not have anything close to that."

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 776-4476, or e-mail dmann@mailtribune.com.

Robert Heieck, left, cleans up as Pressure Point roofer Shane Neville replaces the roof of Eric and Marilynn Yarborough’s house near the Eagle Point Golf Club Friday. The Yarboroughs’ roof was one of many damaged during a hailstorm Aug. 1. Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell - Bob Pennell