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First winter storm of the year causes area-wide damage

The first winter storm of 2019 kept tree services, utility companies, street crews and insurance companies busy throughout the week.

Jay MacLellan, spokesman for Shelter Insurance, said the company has received 38 claims in mid-Missouri since the storm started Saturday.

“We’ve had the large bulk of those have come from through our property claims and then we’ve had about six auto claims,” MacLellan said.

He said the most claims have come from heavy snow causing trees, roofs and decks to break. On the automotive side, he said the slick spots making it difficult to stop and causing small bumper to bumper accidents.

The National Weather Service measured 16.9 inches of snow at the Columbia Regional Airport over the weekend. Adding to the bulk was the fact that this snow was wet and heavy.

MacLellan said 38 claims wasn’t a large number, but it is an uptick from what the company usually sees this time of year.

“Winter time for us is much slower than the … spring,” he said.

He said Shelter hasn’t had any issues connecting with other companies to repair damage, but the adjusters are having trouble getting to certain areas.

“This snow is so deep and it is so wet that getting to certain areas to take care of trees or whatever else has been an issue,” he said. “Roads still in some places aren’t cleared, so getting to those areas is probably the most difficult thing.”

Ahead of any future storms, MacLellan said there are things people can do to avoid property damage such as trimming trees back to avoid the broken limbs.

“Trying to clean off your deck and getting rid of excess snow in certain areas and cleaning off the snow in areas around your house where you can let the snowmelt drain,” he said.

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