Auto Body Shops Flooded With Repair Calls After Storm

Auto body shops in Queens and Long Island are overwhelmed with repair calls today, a day after severe summer storms lashed the region, in some places dropping tennis-ball-sized hail that dented cars and smashed windows.

"It's a windfall for me, a catastrophe for others," said Bob Polgar, owner of Tip Top Auto Body in Garden City, N.Y., on Long Island.

The shop got 100 calls Monday night. On a normal day, it gets 15 calls, Polgar said. Most car owners are reporting busted windshields and dents on hoods and roofs.

"They were the size of tennis balls," said Sandy White. "I had to check if any of my windows were broken."

In White's town of New Hyde Park, which straddles Queens and Nassau County, she and her neighbors draped tarps over the gaping holes left in their cars Monday night.

Many said they had never seen hail like this.

"I got hit in the head," said Evan Susman. "They were coming down so hard."

The storms wreaked havoc throughout the area, striking a swimmer with lightning on a New Jersey beach and delaying the commute for thousands on the Long Island Rail Road.

By Tuesday morning, heavy LIRR delays had subsided, but residual system-wide delays of 10 to 15 minutes remained. The Babylon Branch was experiencing longer delays of up to 45 minutes due to weather-related signal problems.

In New York, the storms struck parts of Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Queens and Nassau counties with flooding rains, large hail, and damaging winds.

Most of these storms had dissipated by Monday night. Sunshine and temperatures in the 80s to near 90 are expected on Tuesday.

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