Be aware: Significant snowfall can cause tremendous stress on your roof

In this photo taken on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, and released by the New York National Guard, an airman with the New York Air National Guard shovels snow off the roof of the Eden Heights Assisted Living Facility in West Seneca, N.Y. (Maj. Mark Frank/Associated Press)

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — With the amount of snow we’ve seen in Central Virginia, stress on roof tops can be tremendous.

One square foot of snow accumulation on a roof can weigh as much as 21 pounds per square foot. On a one thousand square foot house, this can be as much as 12 tons of extra weight.

Some warning signs that a roof may be stressed:

  • Sagging structural members of the home
  • Popping or cracking sounds heard
  • Doors that will no longer open
  • Newly appearing cracks in walls

If you see or hear warning signs, contact a professional structural engineer should be contacted. If significant signs are apparent, exit the house and call 911.

Snow removal from a roof is very hazardous and should only be attempted by a licensed roofing professional. 

What you can do:

  • While clearing snow from walks and driveways, make sure to clear snow from around the downspouts and drains so snow can melt and flow away from the house.
  • From the ground, clear gutters with long handled brush. Watch for falling ice, snow, or icicles.
  • Remember to clear snow away from dryer vents so they can function properly and not become a fire hazard themselves.

Information provided by Henrico Fire officials.

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