Lumberyards and distributors in Houston and along parts of Texas' Gulf Coast are struggling to recover from the damage inflicted over the weekend by Hurricane Ike. One yard was said to be destroyed, several dealers reported building damage, and continued power outages forced some operations to remain closed.
The one lumberyard reported destroyed was a facility near Crystal Beach, Texas, on the coast just north of Galveston. It is believed to be Parker Lumber, but this couldn't be independently confirmed.
The big unknown was the fate of yards serving Galveston. The barrier island received the worst of Hurricane Ike, and only official personnel were allowed in the area until Tuesday evening. "It's going to take days, weeks, and months to get this place cleaned up," Galveston city manager Steve LeBlanc told reporters Monday afternoon. City officials say the city isn't fit for habitation and that the 20,000 residents who rode out the storm in the city should leave.
Further inland, loss of electricity was the biggest issue. The Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday that more than 2 million Houston area customers were without electricity.
In Conroe, north of Houston, several storage facilities were destroyed and the main building was damaged at a Hope Lumber facility. The operation--part of Denver-based ProBuild--was expected to be without electricity for up to two weeks. Customers in the area will be served by Hope's other Houston area facilities.
Bison Building Materials' Houston headquarters was closed today and all deliveries were suspended in the nine-dealer operation, a recorded message on Bison's main telephone line said. Employees were urged to assure their families and homes were safe before calling their managers for possible duty. Also in Houston, Big Z Lumber reported several roofs had been damaged or torn off completely. It expected to be back in business this afternoon.
Of the 10 McCoy's Building Supply operations in the Houston area, only the Galveston area yard was closed today, McCoy's president Brian McCoy told ProSales. "We had significant damage to outbuildings and pole sheds, some warehouse doors were blown out, and a lot of product [was] blownaround," McCoy said.
In Troup, about 75 miles north of Houston, a large metal structure at H.B. Barry Building Supply was blown apart, sending parts of the building into the street and taking out a major power line in the city, a press report said.
Builders FirstSource, based in Dallas, has only a window manufacturing facility in the Houston area, said Katie Murphree, director of investor relations for BFS, the No. 7 company on the ProSales 100. She said the facility suffered minimal damage, power has been restored and the operation should get back to work on Tuesday.
Steve Short, senior VP of operations at Stock Building Supply, said the company experienced "limited damage" to its buildings and inventory. "We expect all of our businesses to be up and running in various states of capacity very soon," he said in a statement. "Our millwork operation in the downtown Houston area already has power and has resumed production [Monday]." Stock has three lumberyards, the millwork operation and one commercial operation in east Texas.
Among distributors serving Texas, Do it Best said Tuesday its has been able to reach most members in the affected area. "There was no damage to the retail service center in Waco," a Do it Best spokeswoman said. "Emergency trucks are getting in as they can--if the roads are impassable, they make the emergency delivery to another store in the area until the roads open up. Five routes are scheduled for delivery Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week, reaching 30 members."
Temple-Inland Inc. said Ike affected operations at a containerboard mill in Orange; lumber mills in Diboll, Pineland, and Buna, Texas, and Dequincy, La.; and a particleboard facility and fiberboard plant in Diboll. None of the facilities had significant damage, Temple-Inland said, but power outages forced all of the facilities to stop operations temporarily.
The Boston-based catastrophe risk modeling firm AIR Worldwide Corp. estimates that insured losses to onshore properties from Hurricane Ike are between $8 billion and $12 billion.