Brazosport Roofing’s owner estimates that he received 300 calls for service in three days after Tropical Storm Imelda hit the area.
“Which is quite surprising because during Harvey, we really didn’t get that many calls,” Daniel Gutierrez said.
For a roofer, this storm was comparable to Hurricane Ike and the 2015 hail storm, Gutierrez said. It’s mostly water damage through vent pipes and the fact that roofs can only take so much rain, he said.
Gutierrez had water come in through his chimney, he said.
“If you have that much water coming in, it’s going to find the path of least resistance, a nook and cranny,” he said.
The U.S. Geological Survey’s rainfall gauge near Freeport showed 28.16 inches of rainfall in the seven days before Friday, according to its website.
Lake Jackson got about 5 inches in two hours Thursday.
Gutierrez tells people that their warranty “is good as long as there are no acts of God or named storms,” he said.
Imelda is the type of event roof companies cannot cover with a warranty, he said.
Most of the jobs he’s done so far are just patching, Gutierrez said, but many of the clients will have to wait.
“I’m telling everybody who calls to be patient,” he said.
It’ll be at least two weeks until he can make it out to most houses, Gutierrez said, adding that other roofers will likely say the same thing. Since many people experienced new leaks during heavy rain, their roofs might hold up fine during a mild rain, he said.
After Ike and the 2015 hail storm, Gutierrez said he replaced more than 500 roofs.
“This one, I’m starting to feel my age,” he said with a laugh.
River flooding is not a concern from this event, Brazoria County Emergency Management Coordinator Steve Rosa said.
“We have no rivers that are flooding and in fact, if we’re talking about the San Bernard, it’s at a whopping three feet right now at the gauge in Old Ocean,” Rosa said.
At both Brazos River gauges, the water crested earlier and lower than expected on Friday morning, he said.
The gauge at Rosharon was at 16 feet Friday afternoon and should be below 10 feet by Monday, which is low considering flood stage starts at 43 feet, Rosa said.
“We were never anywhere close,” he said.
The rain being to the east made all the difference, Rosa said.
Rain in the Katy, Bryan and Fort Bend areas is what can come down the rivers to Brazoria County, which usually comes with days of warning, Rosa said.
“We definitely dodged a big, giant bullet,” he said.
State Farm Insurance representatives received more than 2,000 claims for flooded cars due to the tropical storm, said Felicia Van Frank, the organization’s public affairs specialist based in Austin.
“The calls were mostly from the Houston area right now, but it doesn’t mean we won’t get more down the road,” she said.
For residents wondering which insurance policy covers the latest weather event, Van Frank said it depends.
“So under the homeowner’s aspect, it would be flooding, it would be National Flood Insurance program, which is a federal policy,” Van Frank said. “Now because this is a rain event, if the wind drives the rain in through the roof, that would be something under the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.”
Anyone without insurance is urged to get it early in the year. With several weather systems in the Gulf right now, Van Frank said no one can get insured in time before those storms hit, if they do at all.
Freeport City Manager Tim Kelty said he received multiple calls regarding flood water getting into residents’ homes. Even his own home was flooded, he said.
The city is unaware of the exact number of homes that were flooded at this time, Kelty said.
“With what Mother Nature threw at us, at least we are all alright,” Kelty said.