How to Avoid Roof Damage Caused by Heavy Snow

A nor’easter is bringing as much as 12 inches of snow to some areas in the Northeast, while residents in the West are bracing for their own snowstorm that is expected to begin today. 

Already struggling to recover from Sandy, a nor’easter on Wednesday brought the region wind gusts as high as 60 mph and as much as 12 inches of snow in some parts of Connecticut and New Jersey, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). In New York City’s Central Park, a record 4.3 inches of snow has fallen, which is the earliest 4-inch snowfall on record, reports The Weather Service

Although snow is causing even more damage throughout the region, weather conditions are forecasted to improve by the weekend, according to NWS.

Meanwhile, as the Northeast continues to recover from multiple storms, residents in Montana, Idaho, and North Dakota are preparing for their own severe winter weather. Winter weather advisories are already in place throughout the region, while NWS has issued a blizzard warning in northeast Montana for today through Saturday. 

Snow is expected to start falling over Montana and Idaho on Thursday, while snow is also expected to also start falling over the Oregon Cascades and northern Sierra Nevada in California later today. 

When heavy snow falls, your roof is highly susceptible to costly water damage. If your roof begins to accumulate a significant amount of snow, don’t hesitate to remove the snow in order to reduce your risk of damage. 

Determine how much snow on your roof weighs by using the following guidance from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS). Afterwards, find details on how to safely remove snow at http://disastersafety.org/freezing_weather/prevent-roof-collapse/.

ESTIMATE HOW MUCH THE SNOW ON YOUR ROOF WEIGHS:

Fresh snow: 10-12 in. of new snow is equal to one in. of water, or about 5 lbs per square foot of roof space, so you could have up to 4 ft. of new snow before the roof will become stressed.

Packed snow: 3-5 in. of old snow is equal to one inch of water, or about 5 lbs per square foot of roof space, so anything more than 2 ft. of old snow could be too much for your roof to handle.

Total accumulated weight: two ft. of old snow and two ft. of new snow could weigh as much as 60 lbs per square foot of roof space, which is beyond the typical snow load capacity of most roofs.

Ice: one in. of ice equals one ft. of fresh snow.

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