If you're not just a little bit paranoid you may not be paying attention. Especially about all the snow weighing down your roof. The roof collapse at the Miller Hill Mall in Duluth a couple weeks ago was a wake-up call for many of us who still have a glacier-like deposit of snow and ice lurking on our rooftops. With 31" of snow still on the ground (officially at the Duluth National Weather Service - your results may vary) I found myself wondering what the sheer weight of all that snow is on area rooftops, both residential and commercial? I was shocked by the results.

Credit: OMNI Calculator
Credit: OMNI Calculator

Check out a very handy tool from OMNI Calculator to estimate the weight of the frozen water on your roof. You plug in details of your home, the size of the footprint and pitch of your roof. Very wet snow? Yep. Some rooftops still have a few feet of snow, containing upwards of 9" of liquid water. The weight of all that icy snow is enormous, and flat rooftops on homes and commercial buildings are more vulnerable than steep-pitched rooftops, where snow can fall off more easily.

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Credit: Paul Douglas
Credit: Paul Douglas

How do you know if you have a problem that needs to be dealt with (now)?? Experts list a few things to watch for, hints that your roof may be in trouble.

Icicles are a potential harbinger of problems to come, especially ice dams. A freeze-thaw cycle may be melting snow by day and forming ice every night, prolonging the weight on your rooftop.

Visible signs of over-stressing your roof include sagging ceiling tiles, noises such as creaking or popping, cracking walls, or leakage (damp spots on your ceiling), according to OMNI Calculator.

With more snow on the way it's important to get the majority of icy snow off your roof now, and do so safely. If you have a high-pitch roof the odds of slipping and falling are significant. When in doubt, hire an expert to remove snow and ice.

This has not been a generic, garden-variety winter in the Northland. At the rate we're going we could wind up in the Top 3 Snowiest Winters on record. And your roof may be even more stressed than you are at this point.

Use the free calculator and take action if your roof is at risk.

The 15 Snowiest Winters On Record In Duluth History

Since the National Weather Service began keeping weather records in Duluth in the late 1800s, here are the 15 winters with the highest snowfall totals on historical record.

It is worth noting that the official records from 1941-today have been recorded at the area now known as the Duluth International Airport (away from the lake, on top of the hill). Before then, various locations closer to Lake Superior had been used for official weather recording data. For anyone that knows anything about how Lake Superior and the hill play a role in temperature and snow, you can see how this makes older records inherently different.

While these records note the "snowiest winters", they actually include all seasonal snowfall from July 1 through June 30 of the following year.

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