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Leaky roof calls are pouring in

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — When Christine Mazza reported to work at Cornerstone Roofing on Monday morning, she found the office voice mail so full that it had stopped accepting messages.

Over at Territorial Roofing, employee Pam Penny had to take one of the phone lines off the hook so she could concentrate on the constant ringing from the other two.

“It’s absolutely unbelievable,” said Penny, who twice had to put a Journal reporter

on hold during a brief conversation Monday morning.

She said the calls started pouring in early last week and it’s been “nonstop busy” since.

When it rains, roofs leak, and last week’s record-breaking wet weather has Albuquerque residents scrambling for some professional fixes.

Mazza – who owns Cornerstone with her husband, Rome – said she hadn’t received so many customer calls since a soaking spell in October 2011. She said the volume over the last week has been at least 10 times higher than usual.

Monika Trujillo, office manager for Adobe Roofing, said the company already had fielded about 50 calls by 9:45 a.m. Monday. A typical Monday, she said, would have meant maybe three or four.

State Farm, the largest property and car insurer in New Mexico, handled 80 claims over the weekend for wind, water and hail damage, much of it affecting roofs, according to Denver-based company spokeswoman Angela Thorpe.

“We are already meeting with those customers,” she said.

Since July 2, State Farm has received about 1,000 weather-related claims from around the state.

“It has been a busy summer, to say the least,” she said.

The company moved additional adjusters into the state from as far away as Wisconsin to help local staff handle claims, Thorpe said.

The weather that has been wreaking havoc statewide broke at least one record in Albuquerque: the 3.16 inches of rain that fell Sept. 10-14 bested a five-day mark set back in 1929 – and that did not include the heavy rain that fell early Sunday.

The local roofing companies say there is no particular area of the city that seems most in need. They’re hearing from customers in every part of the Albuquerque metro, from the Heights to Rio Rancho, Downtown to Corrales.

“Everybody has a roof leaking in this whole town,” Trujillo said.

To keep up, Mazza said her workdays sailed well past closing time last week and that she probably would have logged some hours Saturday had she not had a prior commitment.

“It would’ve been nice to get a little leg up,” she said.

In reality, the work is only just beginning. Most roof repairs can’t begin until the surface has dried, and there will be a lot of work to do.

Mazza said the October 2011 onslaught provided enough repair work to keep Cornerstone busy through Christmas of that year.

As for this round, “It will be a month or more that we’re trying to catch up,” she said.

Journal staff writer Winthrop Quigley contributed to this report.