Though a small amount of rooftop snow can act as an insulator during cold winter months, an excessive amount can cause structural damage to a home or result in a total roof collapse.
Snow covered rooftops, while picturesque, can actually be quite hazardous and dangerous. Last year, a 2-year-old girl died in Island Park when a deluge of snow slid off a cabin’s roof and landed on her, along with two other children. The other two children sustained only minor injuries. Accidents like these are uncommon. However, they do happen.
It takes only about 8 inches of melting snow atop a roof to create the kind of instability that can threaten lives and ring up costly repair bills.
To help avoid accidents or breaking the bank, a homeowner should first know what type of roof they have. Flat roofs are extremely vulnerable to standing snow, and this could easily cause a roof collapse without removal during a blizzard.
Flat roofs are exactly that, flat. They have no angles that aid in removing the snow from the surface. In addition, flat roofs can have low areas where water pools that can freeze and keep the snow in place, adding to the burden on the roof. Flat roofs are the most vulnerable to damage from heavy snows.
It can be dangerous for homeowners to try to clean off their roof when it is slippery with snow and ice. A snow rake can come in handy to remove the snow from ground level. A leaf blower can also help to blow off some of the snow that isn’t iced onto the surface. For a large amount of snowpack, the best idea is to hire a roofing contractor who knows the safe way to remove snow from flat roofs.
Another hidden danger are icicles. More people than ever are being killed by icicles. The numbers of people injured or killed this year by falling icicles is still going up.The fact that icicles are dangerous shouldn’t come as a surprise. They’re essentially little sharp frozen missiles, usually falling from great heights, but the number of people harmed this year is surprisingly high.
According to Death in Society Research Foundation, around 15 people in the U.S. each year are killed to icicle related accidents, though there is limited data available concerning icicle deaths.
Icicles may become several feet long, with an extensively large diameter at the top, and, if they fall from as little as one floor height, can cause property damage, injury and possibly even death.
Watch Thursday’s news coverage on Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3 on how to avoid hidden snow dangers around your home.