Snow + Rain Cause Problems for Bucks County Residents

With lots of snow remaining on and around many homes throughout Philadelphia and Bucks County, it may seem the forecast of rain could help finally melt the snow. Unfortunately, the rain on top of so much snow poses a serious danger to homes and residents.

Bucks County Safety Precautions

Bucks County Emergency Management issued a warning to residents this week, in the face of rain forecasts. Rain, on top of the current amounts of snow and ice, increase the risk of buildings collapsing. 
“If rain falls on the standing snow and ice, it may have an effect like a sponge and absorb all of the moisture, making the load on a building heavier,” stated Bucks County Emergency Services Director Scott T. Forster. “While it is dangerous for owners to remove snow from a roof by climbing on it, snow rakes that reach a sloped roof from the ground are a possible solution for those who are concerned about the weight.  This should only be performed by a professional contractor to prevent injury and damages to the roof.”
Although most roofs, whether commercial or residential, are designed to withstand far more than exists at this point, there still is a danger of the rain and snow together causing a full or partial collapse.
The snow can be removed with a snow rake. The Bucks County Emergency Management notice states that homeowners should never stand or climb on the roof to try to remove the snow. The snow must be removed using a snow rake while standing on the ground. Homeowners should not attempt this on their own, as it is an extremely dangerous task.
Ice dams and ponding can signal structural problems that must be addressed.

Tips For Managing Snow Accumulation 

Removing heavy snow from the roof or other structures is dangerous and should only be undertaken by a professional. Contact a Bucks County landscaper or other qualified contractor and be sure they have insurance and other credentials. In addition, homeowners should keep the following precautions in mind:
  • Flat roofs are at greatest risk. If you have a flat roof with heavy snow and water, especially if ponding (standing water which generally indicates a structural problem or structural damage) is visible, contact a professional who can determine the load capacity and the best means to resolve the problem.
  • If a collapse seems imminent, call 911 and remove people and animals from the immediate area.
  • Call a professional if you have concerns of any kind about the load capacity of your roof or other structure.
FEMA Snow Load Safety Guidance:
Bucks County Emergency Management Notificiations:

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