Heavy snowfall raises risk of roof collapses

    Another major snowstorm will arrive in the Philadelphia region late tonight. It could bring more than a foot of new snow, on top of this past weekend’s heavy snowfall. The weight of all of that snow could create dangerous conditions for homes.

    Another major snowstorm will arrive in the Philadelphia region late tonight. It could bring more than a foot of new snow, on top of this past weekend’s heavy snowfall. The weight of all of that snow could create dangerous conditions for homes.

    [Update 2/10/10 1:43 p.m. – WASHINGTON (AP) — Part of the roof of a Smithsonian Institution storage building in a Washington suburb has been brought down by heavy snow. A spokeswoman says it doesn’t appear that there’s any damage to artifacts from the National Air and Space Museum, but that officials haven’t yet been able to go inside because the building is unstable.]

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    One of the biggest issues stemming from a massive snowstorm is the accumulation of ice and snow on poorly insulated homes.

    The heat rises through the attic which melts the rooftop snow at a quicker pace than it would melt on the ground.  That rapid melt creates heavy slush and ice that can damage rooftops and create heavy icicles.

    Mike Kern of KC Roofing in Philadelphia says the homes at highest risk are old row homes with flat rooves.

    Kern: These roofs were not designed for a 36 inch storm. There is no framing, no strength in the roof designed for that.  It’s a concern, it’s a definite issue

    Another concern is the weight of slush and new snow could cause a roof to collapse entirely.

    Homeowners looking for a safe approach to snow removal can use a roof rake while standing at ground level.

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