Winter Weather Safety
AUGUSTA, MAINE ‑ The National Weather Service is forecasting snow today in much of Maine, and a major snowstorm for Wednesday.
The Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is reminding Mainers that with snow on their roofs from previous storms, this new snow 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
One foot of wet or compacted snow can weight 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. We've already seen reports of roof collapses from around New England this
winter, " 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.
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 shoveling out. "We're having a good old‑fashioned Maine winter," he says. "Being good neighbors will get us all through to springtime safely."