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Public Safety Advisory On Potential Roof Collapses

Dangers Associated With Heavy Snow Loads on Roofs

Over the past 36 hours, there have been over 70 reports of roof collapses or buildings with potential structural damage from the weight of snow and ice loads on roofs.  While these incidents have occurred throughout the Commonwealth, the majority have taken place in eastern Massachusetts.  In many instances, homes and businesses have been evacuated as a result of collapses or safety concerns resulting from indications of structural weaknesses.  In a normal winter season, there may be a handful of such events, making this season, with its heavy snowfall, extremely unique.  The current severe roof load conditions are the result of the recent prolonged cold weather and repeated snowstorms.  Short periods of rain that get absorbed in the snowpack on roofs have also made matters even worse.  Compounding the situation is the short-term weather forecast of potentially two more snowstorms in the next week.

Homeowners, tenants, and businesses need to be cognizant of the danger posed by heavy snow loads on roofs, and the warning signs of potential structural weaknesses.  In some instances, the risks posed by accumulated snow on roofs can be mitigated by safely removing snow from roofs of both commercial buildings and homes.  Because temperatures are expected to remain cold for at least the next few days, and more snow may fall as early as this weekend, efforts should be undertaken now to safely remove snow from roofs. 

Removing snow from rooftops will minimize the likelihood of structural collapse.

Flat and low pitched roofs, most often found on industrial buildings, but are also used in certain home designs, are at the greatest risk of buckling under heavy snow and ice accumulations.

Removing snow from rooftops will minimize the likelihood of structural collapse.

Flat and low pitched roofs, most often found on industrial buildings, but are also used in certain home designs, are at the greatest risk of buckling under heavy snow and ice accumulations.

Lower roofs, where snow drifts or accumulates from higher roofs are also vulnerable.  Some potential signs of imminent roof collapse.

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Page last updated:  Monday, June 1, 2020 04:03 pm