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MEMA Home > Programs> Communication> News > Clear Your Roof; More Snow on the Way

Clear Your Roof; More Snow on the Way


February 26, 2013

10:00 AM


The Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is reminding Mainers that with snow on their roofs from previous storms, new snow expected in the next two days will create an additional hazard.

“The accumulation of snow adds a lot of weight that your roof may not be able to withstand”, says MEMA Director Rob McAleer. “It’s a very good idea to get out the roof rake and clear off as much of snow as you can before the next storm. And don’t forget the barn, especially livestock barns.”

The National Weather Service is forecasting another storm Wednesday into Thursday which will bring more snow, this time potentially heavy and wet, to many areas of Maine, especially southern and western regions.

Coastal areas may see periods of rain, but even so, existing layers of snow can soak up water like a sponge, making the snow even heavier.

One foot of wet or compacted snow can weigh as much as 20 pounds per square foot. This places a significant stress on home or barn roofs. “Think how heavy a scoop of wet or compacted snow feels when you are shoveling it, then imagine that weight all over your roof, “ McAleer says.

Flat roofs should be shoveled clear, but only if it is determined that the roof is safe to stand upon. Exercise care when on the roof to avoid potentially dangerous falls – both roofs and ladders can become extremely slippery from snow and ice.

Mainers should also make sure that all heating vents are clear of snow, and oil tanks are protected from snow and ice falling from the roof. Clogged vents can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Broken oil lines and filters can cause serious oil spills (see more information from the Department of Environmental Protection.)

As always, McAleer says, once your home is all set, take a moment to think about friends and neighbors who may need help clearing their roofs or preparing for the next storm.

And as for the storm moving in, pay attention. So far, the National Weather Service has posted Winter Storm Watches and Warnings for areas of southern and western Maine, with hazardous conditions possible in the rest of the State. Conditions will vary by region, so it's important to stay informed as the storm system moves closer.

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Last update: 07/20/10