According to the National Weather Service, a preliminary count showed 384 tornadoes in 19 states between May 4 and May 10, 2003. More than 40 deaths were blamed on the storms. The total of 412 tornadoes during the first 10 days of May was the most since record keeping began in 1950
To see how local contractors were affected by the devastation, Roofing Contractor spoke to Dale Rector Jr. of Dale’s Roofing, Springfield, Mo. The company is located 10 miles east of Battlefield, Mo., which took a direct hit during the storms.
Dale’s Roofing, which does all residential work and employs about 35 people, normally runs five crews and was already busy when the severe weather struck. “We didn’t really need this,” says Rector. He has seen many houses completely demolished and others with shingle-less roofs. “Some days we couldn’t even get into the city. So many people were trying to get in to survey the damage they had it closed down until 5:00 p.m. on a few days.” The company isn’t planning to hire more people to deal with the extra work, but crews are definitely working longer shifts.
We also spoke to generalRoofing, the country’s largest roofing contractor, which has locations all across the United States. “Several of our mid- and south-central locations have been hard at work as a part of disaster response, recovery and repair after the recent onslaught of tornadoes,” says Larry Morgan, national sales manager.
“Our response teams have most recently focused on the Midwestern states of
Tennessee, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri,” Morgan continues. “Many of our crew members have reported back that the destruction is devastating, and liken it in some areas to a just slightly smaller version of Hurricane Andrew.”
According to COO Jeff Burks, generalRoofing has a three-pronged approach to disaster response: “First, focus on basic emergency response and temporary repair; second, an analysis and inspection of the roofs; and third, perform permanent repair.” He continues, “Being a national company, we have the resources to respond anywhere in the continental U.S. when disaster strikes. When we know something is on its way, or right after disaster strikes, we assemble our crews in the area ready to assist in any way possible.”
Because it is a commercial-only roofing company, the majority of general roofing’s customers’ buildings have not been affected by the outbreak of tornadoes. “However, our response in these circumstances has been to provide materials and people as resources to assist as neighbors in our local communities,” stated Morgan. “We have just been there to help out, there are other companies more adept in assisting with residential roofing matters.”
However, several of the company’s national customers have been impacted dramatically, “and it is simply part of our service process to them to respond to their needs whenever and wherever a disaster strikes,” concludes Morgan.