While hurricanes this past year failed to cause severe damage as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria did in 2017, the tire industry still had to grapple with several natural disasters in 2018.
Tire dealers and manufacturers in some parts of Virginia and North Carolina faced the wrath of Hurricane Florence, which caused massive flooding.
Here's how John Allen of Hughes Bros. Inc. in Wilmington, N.C., described the aftermath of the mid-September disaster: "This town looks like a bomb went off."
One of Mr. Allen's two tire stores in Wilmington lost part of its roof during the storm and suffered water damage. The shop was closed for eight days as employees tried to dry out and clean up the facilities; the other store wasn't damaged but was closed for three days due to power outages.
Hughes Bros. was one of the unlucky dealerships in the hurricane's path. Fortunately, several tire dealerships contacted by Tire Business reported minimal or no damage due to being located away from the flooding rivers or on high ground.
Black's Tire Service, which operates more than 45 stores in North and South Carolina, said eight of its stores in North Carolina suffered structural damage during the storm and some were flooded.
"We were right in the path of the storm," Rick Benton, vice president of Black's Tire, said of the dealership's four stores in Wilmington, two in Jacksonville, north of Wilmington, and one each in New Bern and Lumberton.
"We're not even in flood zones," Mr. Benton said, noting that this storm was "absolutely worse" than the flooding from Hurricane Matthew two years ago.
Several tire manufacturers and large tire chains survived the hurricane and subsequent flooding.