By Karen L. Edwards, RCS Editor.
February has ended and March kicked off with a bang in terms of extreme weather conditions. RCS Partner Heidi Ellsworth reported nearly four feet of snow at her home in central Oregon. The news reported that Eugene, Oregon was hit with a surprise snowstorm that left as much as a foot of snow in the city. And don’t forget about Seattle’s record snowfall last month. Why stop there? Let’s talk about the Midwest being hit with a cold blast caused by arctic air coming down from Canada to put them into a deep freeze.
The first weekend of March brought a foot of snow to the Boston area with much of the northeast receiving several inches. Where I live in Pennsylvania our average high temperature should be pushing 50 degrees, yet we are seeing temps in the 20s and 30s with single digit overnight lows. The greater Los Angeles area has seen a record amount of rain with 11.5 inches so far in 2019. Sadly, this past weekend, Alabama and Georgia were hit with a severe tornado outbreak that destroyed homes, flattened communities and left nearly two dozen people dead.
What the heck is going on?
There are two schools of thought. The first one says that all of this extreme weather is caused by global warming and the other school says, “no way!” The Washington Times reported that Roy Spencer, principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, believes that “global warming does not cause extreme cold.” He presented data dating back to 1895 that supports his theory. On the other hand, Forbes recently reported that global warming is responsible for the record-low temperatures across the U.S. this winter.
What is a roofing contractor to do?
According to OHSA’s winter weather safety web page, exposure to extreme cold temperatures isn’t the only risk to your crew. It’s important to consider additional risks such as driving in snow or ice, clearing snow from roofs, preventing slips on ice, and working near downed power lines.
Severe storms that are powering through the southern U.S. present additional challenges for contractors. With damage to roofs, the potential of additional structural damage homes and buildings is imminent and contractors need to move quickly to protect structures from additional weather. It can be dangerous to physically be on the roof. This is where aerial imagery services and remote measurements from companies like Nearmap can help you stay safe. They can provide historical imagery that can be compared against current imagery to aid in damage assessment.
They also deliver measurements so you know the amount of temporary protection that will be needed until permanent repairs can be completed. There are new solutions on the market that are quickly becoming more popular than traditional blue tarps such as this innovative solution from Stormseal, that is literally like shrink wrap for a roof – it won’t blow off as tarps are prone to do.
The bottom line is that it seems like extreme weather isn’t going away any time soon. It’s best for contractors to put response plans in place so they can be ready to respond when their service area is hit by weather. Don’t forget to make sure your website has the information that your customers are looking for following an extreme event. Be sure you have the infrastructure in place to handle the volume of inquiries – consider an answering service or automated form in order to provide the best experience for your customers.
How are you dealing with these extreme weather incidents in your service area? Leave a comment and let us know.