Here’s the bad news: El Nino seasons can be destructive!

The weather phenomenon is characterized by warming oceans (which sounds great on the surface), changes in the jet stream, and a whole assortment of other scientific stuff but, essentially, it results in some pretty dangerous weather all over earth. The atmosphere is pretty much a zero-sum game which means more rains in the Western United States and South America means less rain in normally rainy Southeastern Asia and Australia.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the 2015-2016 El Nino is set to be on par with the destructive 1997-1998 event which resulted in costly mudslides in California, and fires throughout Australia; the globe was challenged by heavy flooding in the Western United States and droughts in Indonesia; it was blamed for a rise in viruses in Africa and worse – RISING COFFEE PRICES ACROSS THE PLANET! YIKES!

Here’s the good news: El Nino seasons can be destructive!

And while this sounds like global mayhem, it’s the kind of thing that the construction industry should be excited about! According to a Minneapolis Star Tribune article from 1997, “the insurance industry reported an increase of policies and additions to existing policies,” while, “some homeowners, fearing the worst, got home repairs and this benefitted the construction industry.”

And while it’s likely that roofs aren’t going to start flying off with some regularity from now until early 2016, it does mean it’s an opportune time to increase your sales efforts to help people prepare for the impending El Nino!

While it’s too early to predict whether there’s been an increase in the number of new policies or upgrades in the insurance industry, you can pretty much bet the insurance companies are already selling the doom and gloom policies they’ve been selling since the effects of El Nino were first studied, economically, in the early 80’s.

What should you do?

And these new policies should be paid out – to you. Right now, you should be mirroring the efforts of the insurance industry and providing the repairs and improvements people have been putting off. Roofing and siding improvements as a preventative measure, especially, shouldn’t be overlooked. But assuming this year is going to be as harsh as 1997’s El Nino, start speaking to your customers about who they’re going to turn to if damage should occur.

It sounds pretty bad, we know, to capitalize on the fears associated with stormy weather. And, granted, some of these storms will be costly in terms of property and possibly even lives; the truth is, someone has to rebuild when destruction happens; someone has to prepare when it looms – why shouldn’t it be you?

An El Nino means soil conditions are damaged because of the storms and workers may be unable to get to work and supply chains may be impacted, but remember, while work may stop one or two days because of the storms, it becomes much more intense following the storms - and for weeks and months after.

Weather and climate sensitive industries directly impacted by weather (construction being one of them), which account for nearly 10% of GDP saw a $25 billion increase because of El Nino in 1997, according to a 2002 NOAA report, The Economic Impacts of an El Nino.

So what does this mean to you? Well, for starters, this is the time to get your RoofScope account set up and start ordering your reports, pound the pavement and speak to customers about the weather event - especially in western states which saw an increase in rainfall, hail and snowy weather in 1997; make it clear to potential customers that you’ve predicted bad weather and you’re the person to come to should tragedy strike – oh, and stock up on coffee!