As severe storms pummel the Midwest this week, residents throughout Southern Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Nebraska, Kentucky and West Virginia are scrambling to protect themselves from the threat and potential havoc of tornadoes and hail. CNN Senior Producer Bill Kirkos reports on what it's been like to battle massive pellets of frozen rain for two businesses in Blair, Nebraska.
Jeff Burke is one of the owners of The Viking Family Restaurant in Blair, Nebraska, about 20 minutes north of Omaha.
He was inside serving diners Tuesday evening with his daughters when he started hearing the hail hitting his roof and windows.
"It sounded like hundreds of small bombs going off," Burke tells CNN.
"We were convinced we were being hit by a tornado."
While a tornado didn't hit the restaurant, the heavy, grapefruit-sized hail certainly left its mark in Blair.
The Woodhouse Ford and Woodhouse Chrysler Dodge and Jeep Dealerships had over 4,000 vehicles parked in their outdoor lots. Many of those cars are now riddled with four-inch wide dents. Windows were completely shattered, causing pools of water to build inside the cars, pickups and minivans from rain that fell for hours after the hail stopped.
Woodhouse CFO Paul Cech tells CNN the damage is substantial, but the situation is not over. "Today was a tough day, but tomorrow will be worse."
*All photos by Bill Kirkos
On Wednesday, the dealership will begin assessing the damage to their fleet. Although opportunists might take advantage of their misfortune.
“We’ll get people all over the country calling us trying to get discount prices," Cech says.
SEE INDRA PETERSONS' REPORT: