Feeling buried? With roofs caving in and trees collapsing throughout the valley, snow management during this January thaw is more than a precaution, it’s a requisite safety measure.
Fourteen years ago, a man in Mazama died under the collapse of a shed. Let’s not forget how tragic and unexpected that kind of accident can be and how to prevent it. Similarly, Patrick Hannigan narrowly escaped certain death this weekend as his outbuilding collapsed under weight of the snow and destroyed equipment and machinery just minutes after he was inside.
The wet snow loading our roofs can weigh upward of 13 pounds per square foot and even more when fully saturated. There’s an easy snow weight calculator online that helps estimate how much weight your roof might be holding. Ours came is at 156,000-319,000 pounds based on the depth, roof size, and height of a wet snowpack. We spent over six hours Sunday removing most of it and then moving it away from the house. There’s still more work to prevent the melt-off from flooding our basement and saturating the siding.
Ice dams are also a problem this time of year. Ice dams can occur when there’s a differential of temperature from one portion of the roof to another. For instance, if you have uninsulated eaves, you are more likely to develop ice dams as snow melts and then runs down the roof and hits the colder eve section and re-freezes. That’s also how icicles form. Professionals recommend raking snow off roofs with every 6 inches of accumulation to avoid ice dams.
Tori Karpenko shared some impressive photos of TwispWorks which he claims is ground zero for ice dams and icicles in Twisp. As the operations manager in charge of the campus facilities, dealing with ice dams and snow accumulation is a large bulk of his job this time of year.
When temperature hover around 30-35 degrees like they have this week, that’s prime time for rain-on-snow events and lots of freeze-thaw cycles that lead to icy problems. Climate change science predicts more rain-on-snow in the valley, so dealing with the heavy loads are not a fluke this year, they are likely the new normal.
With all the new developments for housing projects being proposed throughout the valley, accommodating space for snow storage, rapid and earlier melt-offs with frozen ground and blocked drains must be considered. Infrastructure for storm water design has never been more important to plan and design properly.
Back in December when the snow was light and fluffy, cold and beautiful, and we all had sugar plums dancing in our heads, Liberty Bell High School basketball fans came together to participate in the alumni basketball games. Co-ed basketball players from graduating classes spanning three decades returned to the court in men’s and women’s competitions to raise funds for the current basketball program. In the spirit of fun competition, the rival alumni gave it their best with wins going to the slightly younger graduate teams.