• MEMA: Forecasted rain presents roof collapse danger


    FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) – The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency is warning that rain forecasted later this weekend could cause some roofs already covered in massive amounts of snow to collapse.

    A Nor'easter dumped nearly two feet of light, fluffy snow on some parts of Massachusetts Thursday into Friday. MEMA warns that the snow will act as a sponge for rain expected to hit the area Sunday evening.

    "Flat, commercial roofs are most susceptible if they are not draining properly," said MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz.

    Temperatures are expected to rise Sunday and Monday, paving the way for rainfall on top of the snow. After the rain, temperatures will quickly snap back into the teens and 20s later in the week.

    The agency says rooftop ice dams can form, causing water to build up and lead to interior damage. They offer the following tips to prevent collapsing:

    • Be on the alert for large accumulating snow build-up or snowdrifts on your roofs, particularly roofs that are flat on only have a slight pitch, as on garages, car ports or porches.
    • If roof snow can be removed, from the ground, with the use of a snow rake (available at most hardware stores), do so. Use caution, as metal snow rakes conduct electricity if they come into contact with a power line.
    • Try to avoid working from ladders, as ladder rungs tend to ice up. Snow and ice collect on boot soles, and metal ladders.
    • Flat roofs can 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.
    • Flat roof drainage systems should be kept clear to minimize the risk of excess roof ponding in the event of subsequent heavy rainfall or melting.
    • Large icicles can form on roof overhangs, but do not necessarily mean ice damming is occurring. Icicles overhanging doorways and walkways can be dangerous and should be carefully removed.
    • All of the mentioned actions should only be performed by able-bodied adults, as the snow is heavy, and roofs and other surfaces may be slippery. Protective headgear and eye protection is recommended.
    • Clear storm drains along the curb. Give water a better place to go than your cellar.
    • Also, make sure your neighborhood fire hydrants are cleared and accessible.

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