Weatherproofing

El Niño and the Monsoon

We are entering monsoon season in Colorado, a time when a seasonal wind shift brings moisture up from the Pacific and Sea of Cortez, sometimes a little moisture, and sometimes a lot- monsoonal flow created the extreme rainy weather of September 2013, causing some of the worst flooding in the history of the state.  On July 31,1976, a storm dumped huge amounts of rain in the Foothills and created a flash flood in Big Thompson canyon, killing 144 people. 

The increasing probability of a moderate to strong El Niño emerged in late winter and early spring 2014. In fact, recent observations (as of June 12, 2014) of sub-surface ocean waters in the equatorial Pacific region show a massive volume of anomalously warm water several hundred feet below the ocean surface. Very similar conditions were observed in Spring/early summer 1997, which resulted in the warmest/strongest El Niño on record.

Historically, moderate to strong El Niño episodes have featured a slightly increased frequency of occurrence of above normal precipitation during November-December. For the January-March period they have featured above normal precipitation (generally 110% to 140% of normal) over the eastern half of the state.

This year an El Niño cycle, which pushes coastal moisture over the mountains, will add more water to what might be an already robust monsoon, said Mike Baker, a forecaster for the National Weather Service in Boulder.

"We always see the monsoon and it comes in different flavors and strengths," he said on Tuesday. "We may be dealing with an enhanced monsoon."

For the first time in years, much of the state has been free of drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The monsoonal rains should add to the state's already full reservoirs and high-flowing rivers.

"Once it gets going in the next couple of weeks when the high pressure shifts, we'll be under the gun and will get our fair share of rain," Baker said.

For regular readers, you know this is where I expound on the wisdom of calling WeatherSure sooner rather than later, and making sure the “enhanced monsoon” doesn't create any property management disasters, huge headaches or angry tenants- just remember, for those who have planned ahead and taken care of building envelope maintenance, the rain is a welcome thing in this dry part of the world. 

A word of thanks….

Photo from Denver Post

Photo from Denver Post

The rain and flood event that we've experienced this month is of historic proportions, creating damage exceeding all previous flood events in our state’s history.  Thousands have lost their homes and businesses, and it will take years to rebuild the infrastructure lost in a few days.

A rain event of this magnitude occurs so rarely that no one can be totally prepared for the consequences, property manager, building owner, or the best-in-the-industry Service Department at WeatherSure.  The volume of service calls even exceeded those in the wake of the March 2003 snowstorm.  After the 2003 Snow, WeatherSure pioneered what we call “Storm Surge” mode, where all available company resourced are shifted to emergency leak repair calls for as long as necessary.

Unfortunately, even with 20 Service Crews working at a fever pitch, it take’s time to handle over 600 Service Requests, with priority going to those whose business operations have had to be suspended because of the leaks.  Everyone at WeatherSure would like to thank all of our customers for your patience and understanding; we all know it can be very difficult dealing with water infiltration damage and the complaints from tenants and employees who have been inconvenienced by roof, wall and window leaks in their workspaces.  Again, thank you for your continued support and understanding.

What's Happening at WeatherSure - April 2011

Welcome to Spring!  Along the Front Range, the weather can be very interesting this time of year- like 80’s one day and then a wet snow storm! I thought this month we could take a look at some unusual roofs- let’s face it, most roofs are only there to keep out the weather and the vandals, but you can stick some interesting stuff up on top of a building….for instance, the hotel pool- how about the one at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore?  

It’s an infinity edge pool, 55 stories above the ground, spanning the 3 towers of the hotel.  There are also quite a few rooftop bars, some fairly low level ones around LoDo, with the Sky Bar at Sirocco in Bangkok, taking top prize as  the world’s highest open air bar at 63 stories.  In Dubai, where they apparently spend a lot of time building things just to prove they can be built, there’s a tennis court 211 meters above the ground, about the same height as 1801 California (the “Century Link” building).  Although the infamous roller coaster atop the Stratosphere in Las Vegas is gone, there are still some rides on the roof, and other rooftop roller coasters elsewhere.  In densly populated Copenhagen, architects created a rooftop “playground”, really a rooftop hill covered with grass for inner city kids to frolic upon.  Somebody with a lot of imagination came up with the idea of a rooftop trailer park, the Grand Daddy Hotel in Capetown, South Africa features 7 vintage (and imported) Airstream trailers, customized and featuring hip custom décor, are parked on the hotel roof and available as guest rooms. In Melbourne, Australia, you can see a movie at the Rooftop Cinema, 6 stories up and open to the sky above.  And it seems that everywhere folks are growing things on the roof- at Ford’s River Rouge plant in Detroit, which was first built around World War I, sprouts the world’s largest “green” or vegetated roof system, over 10 acres of soil and sedum, a “ground cover” type of plant that is proving itself especially viable for rooftop conditions- not only does the roof provide greenery and relief from the acres of industrial roofs all around, Ford expects the roof to last twice as long as a conventional installation, due to the waterproofing membrane being protected from UV and temperature swings by the mass of soil and plants on top- and skipping a roof replacement on a building this size will save millions of dollars.  And co-op gardeners and chefs from Brooklyn to Chicago to Vancouver are growing vegetables and even chickens on rooftops, so you can eat “local’ even in the heart of the big city.  Perhaps the most innovative of all, I have heard of a company that painted a “QR” code that can be scanned with a cell phone on their roof, so that when someone looks at their building using GoogleEarth (or, I suppose, happens to be flying over) they can instantly access the company website- who knows what we’ll be sticking on roofs in the future!

What’s Happening at WeatherSure - August 2011

Well, it’s that time of the year. Some of the kids are already back in school, it’s a little cooler (and darker!) in the mornings, it's still summer for sure, but hinting at things to come. Now is the best time to think about how your building’s exterior skin has aged and how it’s likely to perform when that first wet heavy snow hits. Don’t wait to find out the “hard way” that your roofing and weatherproofing systems need attention. Call WeatherSure today and schedule a free visit by one of our trained experts to determine if there’s anything that needs attention!
 
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We look forward to seeing you at some events in the near future-