In the midst of hurricane season, Sally repairs are still ongoing

By Jody Conrad | Special to the Press Gazette

As the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sally passes, many remember last minute evacuations, debris removal, and home repairs. For many in the area, the recovery is still ongoing, so the disaster has yet to be relegated to the rear view mirror.

Jessica Bowers, spokesperson for Quality Roofing Solutions on Avalon Boulevard, said that hurricane damaged roofs are still being repaired.

Damage to docks might not show up until much later when the damaged supports collapse.

“We’re still repairing roofs from Sally,” she said. “For about the first three to four weeks we were getting tarps on the roofs of damaged homes. As all roofers in our area can probably attest, our crews worked sunup to sundown repairing and replacing roofs for months.” 

She described how COVID concerns then put a stumbling block in the roofing efforts.

“We had our hands tied when the permitting process slowed to a crawl, and then of course there was the shortage in building supplies that happened right about the same time that Sally hit," Bowers said. “We’re still doing about 30 to 40 roofs each week. But things should settle down in the next few months.

"Then we’ll be looking at replacing roofs that are now 15 years old that were damaged in Hurricane Ivan,” she added.

Wally Dowd works at repairing a home that sustained water damage during Hurricane Sally.

Wally Dowd, an employee of Chuck Lowe Contracting, is still repairing the interior of homes that incurred water damage from Sally.

“Water damage isn’t always visible at first, usually because a roof might not have sustained visible damage," Dowd said. "Damage from leaking roofs and windows might not show up for some time, and by the time it does, you’re looking at replacing rotten wood studs, window frames, roof rafters, etc., in addition to drywall.”

Roman and Robin Nowak learned to navigate hurricane repairs after they had to spend seven months in a rental while repairs to their home were ongoing.

“FEMA was much easier to work with than our homeowners insurance.” Roman said. “They are pretty cut and dry as to what they will or won’t do, but homeowner’s agents want to (bicker) on everything.”

“In the end, all repairs we made were done with future storms in mind, so we won’t have to do this again,” Robin added.

Robin and Roman Nowak's home was severely damaged by Sally's flood waters.

Their advice for other homeowners? They both agreed: “Take lots of pictures, you can never have enough to satisfy the insurance folks.”