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Tornado damage in Texas as much as $500M

Tornado damage in Texas as much as $500M

DALLAS—Tornadoes that tore through the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas early this month caused as much as $500 million in insured damage, according to the Southwestern Insurance Information Service.

The 17 twisters caused “extensive, though localized” damage in seven counties and hit the Dallas suburbs of Arlington and Lancaster the hardest, according to Boston-based AIR Worldwide Corp.

The early April tornado outbreak packed heavy rain, high winds that “tossed empty big rigs nearly 100 feet into the air” and hail as large as baseballs, according to AIR.

In a preliminary estimate, the Austin, Texas-based SIIS put insured losses at $300 million to $500 million.

“We're seeing a couple businesses that are losing $10,000 to $15,000 a per week that they're out of business,” said Sandra Helin, president of the SIIS. “That's their entire income.”

There have been 411 tornadoes nationwide so far this year, according to a preliminary National Weather Service estimate. That compares with 758 tornadoes just in April of last year, the most active tornado month on record. For all of 2011, there were 1,691 tornadoes, second only to 2004's 1,817 tornadoes, according to the NWS.