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As we approach the second anniversary of Hurricane Irma on Sept. 10, the powerful Category 4 storm remains etched into our memories.

But before Irma there was Wilma, and before Wilma there was Charley, and before Charley there was Donna.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 42 hurricanes and tropical storms have come within 100 miles of Sanibel Island over the past 100 years. The graphic attached to this blog might resemble a game of Pick-Up Sticks, but those are the official tracks representing all hurricanes and tropical storms that have crisscrossed Southwest Florida over the past century.

Based on the historical data, we’ve had essentially one tropical cyclone either hit Southwest Florida, or make a very close call, about every two years. Statistically, we’re due. Of course, Mother Nature doesn’t work that way.

NOAA forecasters issued their midseason forecast, and because the El Nino cycle in the Pacific Ocean has ended, conditions are more favorable for development in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. The update calls for 10 to 17 named storms, which includes five to nine hurricanes. Of those, two to four could be major hurricanes.

At first glance, it seemed like Southwest Florida recovered fairly quickly from Irma. Most major roadways were cleared within a few days, and a majority of debris piles were picked up within four to six weeks. Many businesses reopened later in the week and schools were back in session the following week.

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As a commercial roofer, Target Roofing & Sheet Metal obviously was extremely busy in the days, weeks and months following Hurricane Irma, as were other roofing companies in town. Irma was the fifth-costliest U.S. hurricane on record with damages estimated at $50 billion. Pre-storm preparations often center around stockpiling food, water, batteries, gasoline and boarding up windows. Yet, roof damage and roof failure are among the most common – and most expensive – property damage that occurs during hurricanes and tropical storms.

Two years after Irma, the vast majority of businesses, condominiums and homeowner associations have worked through their insurance companies and had their damaged roofs repaired or replaced. Each storm is a learning process, but Irma demonstrated that the time to search for a roofer isn’t immediately after a storm. Their phones, if they’re even working, will be ringing off the hook, and to them, you’re just another number showing up on their caller ID.

Here are four items for your roof prep checklist that should be finished long before the cone of uncertainty covers Southwest Florida:

  • Get to know a roofer: Ask colleagues and friends for references, and consult online review sites like Yelp, Angie’s List and even Facebook Reviews. Check licensure and reports through the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation and Better Business Bureau. Target Roofing is proud to be a top-rated company across all platforms.
  • Get an inspection: Once you settle on two or three roofing companies, ask each to visit your property and provide an inspection and recommendations.
  • Get photos: Insurance companies may want proof that a roof was not damaged prior to a storm, and photo documentation from a licensed, trusted roofer will eliminate any doubt and speed up the timeline.
  • Get insurance paperwork: Insurance companies will be overwhelmed with phone calls and emails after a storm, and representatives might not have time to pull up your policy to see what’s covered. After you gather the paperwork, read it! So many property owners are surprised to learn that damage caused by flooding or hurricanes isn’t always covered in their regular policy.

Don’t let another hurricane sneak up on you. Call Target Roofing today at 239-332-5707 and ask about our FREE estimates!


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