Too much snow could make your home collapse

Some building codes require roofs to withstand the snow

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Three storms in two weeks have caused snow to pile up on rooftops; collapsing the roofs of several buildings in the eastern part of the state.

22News spoke with Stuart Fern, a mechanical engineer, to find out if we need to worry about buildings collapsing in western Massachusetts. He said, “The snow weight is anywhere between 3 and 27 pounds per cubic foot. Solid ice is about 57 pounds, which is very heavy. Imagine that all on your roof.”

However, Fern added that the light fluffy snow we’ve been seeing weighs significantly less than the heavier packed snow we’ve seen in previous storms.

It’s why Ron Wood of West Springfield said he’s not too concerned just yet; “I’ve only raked off my roof once in 51 years. Never had any issues, any worries about snow.”

Depending on where you live in western Mass., building codes require your roof to withstand anywhere from 25-to-30 pounds of snow per square foot. Unless you have a flat roof, or a much older home, Fern said there’s no need to worry about clearing your roof tops just yet.

Experts said there are actually more people injured from trying to remove snow from their roofs than from an actual roof collapse.

Rosemary Delleara of Chicopee told 22News if she feels the snow is piling up too high, she’d never try and get up there herself. “I work in the health field and I have seen injuries from people falling off roofs, just like putting up Christmas lights, so it’s super important to just either have someone with you, or don’t do it.”

One thing to watch for right now are ice dams along your roof edge, which can leak melted snow into your home. Click Here for information on recognizing ice dams.

Follow the 22News Storm Team for the latest weather updates on-air and on WWLP.com.

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