Business is through the roof -- literally -- for Bay Area roofing contractors because of predictions of a strong El Niño this winter.
The prediction of a very wet winter has touched off what some call a panic among homeowners. Roofers interviewed on Tuesday said it may be too late for homeowners looking to get a qualified contractor to visit their home before the expected El Niño. Some contractors said they are booked way into next year.
"I think it needed to be done, but El Niño sped up the process," said homeowner Melissa Crosby.
Roofing companies said phones began ringing off the hook in May, months earlier than in a normal year.
Randy Brown, who co-owns Los Gatos Roofing, said the flood of phone calls is not all good news.
"And when people call now you have to tell them we can't help until next year," Brown said. "That's difficult to do sometimes."
Brown said the last time he saw this kind of demand was the El Niño back in the winter of 1997-1998, which brought record rain to parts of the Bay Area.