Strongest El Nino Predictions in Decades Keep California Roofers Busy

This winter, El Nino — the periodic warming of the Pacific Ocean responsible for powerful weather changes every three to five years — is expected to arrive on the shores of California.

The National Weather Service said there is now a 90% chance that El Nino will hit this winter, with an 80% chance it will last until spring of next year.

And already, scientists and climatologists are predicting the strongest El Nino cycle in decades, on par with the record years of 1982 and 1997.

“It does look like the coming months, according to our models, will be wetter in California, and hopefully that will play out for them this year,” Amy Clement, a professor of marine and atmospheric science at the University of Miami, told NPR.

During California’s years-long drought, many homeowners have put off needed roof repairs, as there was never any rain to leak through their roofs. While bringing heaps of rain to the California coast will be an undoubted boon to the bone-dry state, many homeowners are now scrambling to make sure their roofs are ready for the months-long downpour.

As a result, California’s roofing contractors are busier than ever, CBS SF Bay Area reported on August 10. Many will keep working through the start of El Nino next month through April 2016.

“We’re at three times our typical capacity,” Yale Proctor, of Bay Area roofing company R.E. Roofing, said.

Proctor explained that this summer has been the busiest season for local roofing contractors in the last 25 years.

“Obviously with the El Nino on the way, that’s probably the biggest single push,” he said.

Other factors contributing to the roofing boom include the Bay Area’s white-hot housing market and a gradually-improving economy.

“If your shingle roof is more than 15 years old, don’t waste your money on repairs–get it replaced.  It will cost you less in the long run,” says Peter Kiwior, Owner, Pro-home Services. “Many homeowners think that patching a bad roof will save them money and protect their house but with the huge amounts of rain that is coming their way, a patch will not hold up well. In that case they are looking at more extensive repairs in and out of the house.”

California homeowners who haven’t yet scheduled their needed roofing services might be out of luck when it comes to preparing for El Nino, however. CBS SF Bay Area reported that many contractors are fully booked for the coming months.

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