Safely Skirting Snow Runoff

Winter is quickly coming to a conclusion. When Punxsutawney Phil popped his head out of the hole and missed his shadow, he promised America an early end to winter. It might be a while before his predictions are confirmed or proven wrong. In the meantime, temperatures are rising and so are the spirits of those depressed by the snow. They welcome the change of temperatures and revel in the sight of melting snow and clearer streets. For those that have enjoyed the over abundant moisture of a perfect ski season, watching the snow begin to disappear makes their hearts grow cold with gloom.  They hasten to the slopes to get a few last runs in before it all goes away. Whichever side of the argument you find yourself on, the changing of the seasons is an important time to be paying attention to the world around you.

Snow melting means fewer slips on the sidewalk, crashes on the roadways, and salting of the driveway. As it stops falling from the sky, it will start falling from the rooftops.  This kind of falling snow can be extremely dangerous. Places that receive a lot of moisture and constant below freezing temperatures during the winter built up inches of the white stuff on their roofs.  That white stuff isn’t just fluffy. It is dense, and heavy.

As the warmer temperatures start coming around, it begins to melt into water that drains slowly down. As night approaches, that water begins to freeze into ice as the temperatures plummet.  This will go on for days on end, building up large sections of solid ice. Eventually, it will slide off the roof and fall the 10 or so feet to the ground, slamming into any furniture, property, or person below it.  Damages can be extreme, especially in the case of injuring people. Too many accidents happen every year because of snow run off in the spring.

There are two things you can do to prepare for the coming run off. One, be on your guard when you enter or exit buildings.  Look at the roof and gauge how likely it is to fall. Don’t be ashamed to watch it as you pass underneath.  Avoid standing just below the eaves of a building you are leaving or entering. If you need to stay and chat for a while, do it on the porch or away from the edges of the roof.  Don’t sit below it just asking for trouble. Be aware of the heavy-laden ones especially.

Second, take care of your own roofs. Snow brackets are an amazing resource to help you keep passersby, including yourself, safe. They are installed at the end of your roof and keep the snow from falling to the ground, meaning you would have to clean off the roof to get them up there. The result is that the snow brackets retain the largest chunks of snow and ice on the roof while they melt. They are stuck there until they either (1) become too small to cause any harm, or (2) melt completely away. They are also nice because they offer help with avoiding ice dams. Installing snow brackets and being wary around others roofs are great ways to protect yourself and others from the dangers of falling snow and ice. As temperatures rise, so should your eyes.

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