Residents in Shepherd and other towns surrounding Billings are picking up the pieces after a hail storm pummeled the Yellowstone Valley Sunday night, damaging homes and vehicles and leaving behind a big mess.
"My husband was running around like it was going to be some kind of big one,” said Becky French, a Shepherd resident on Monday.
Shattered windows were on both homes and vehicles, and crops ready for harvest were destroyed. The community and local businesses are rallying together to help clean up the mess.
“We had one area in the house, the laundry room, and we were all huddled in there. The kids were really freaked out. First, the windows smashed in. Hail started coming inside the house between the size of golf balls and baseballs. Every single window on the north and west sides of the house got completely destroyed. Hail was coming in and breaking through the sheet rock. Glass everywhere,” French said.
Local businesses like Stillwater Lumber stepped up and provided free plywood and supplies for people to board up their windows. They even measured, ordered and delivered free to their homes.
"We are based out of Columbus, but we are a family-owned, small-town business. But our heart is really with the Shepherd and Huntley communities,” said the owner of Stillwater Lumber, Michelle Cook. “We just have family and friends here who have seen total devastation so we provide OSB and help out as best we can."
Scott Carter, the superintendent of Shepherd public schools, says every west window on all of the building on campus are broken and damaged from the hail.
“I am guessing it to be about a $2.5 million damage. It's pretty extensive damage. The bus barn, the back doors, all three have to be replaced. One was rolled up like a sardine can," Carter said.
School starts at the end of August for Shepherd public schools and Carter says he needs to get the glass cleaned up before he lets the community in.