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Roofs began to creak and collapse and homeowners toiled to clear waist-high drifts atop their houses Thursday as another storm brought the Buffalo area's three-day snowfall total to an epic two metres or more.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo begged drivers "pretty, pretty please" to stay off slippery, car-clogged roads in western New York while crews struggled to dig out. Some areas got close to a metre of new snow by Thursday afternoon.
Things could quickly get worse: Rain and high temperatures were in the forecast for the weekend, raising the spectre of flooding and an even heavier load on roofs, where the snow could absorb the downpours like a blanket.
ESTIMATE HOW MUCH THE SNOW ON YOUR ROOF WEIGHS USING THESE GUIDELINES FROM IBHS:
Fresh snow: 10-12 in. of new snow is equal to one in. of water, or about 5 lbs per square foot of roof space, so you could have up to 4 ft. of new snow before the roof will become stressed.
Packed snow: 3-5 in. of old snow is equal to one inch of water, or about 5 lbs per square foot of roof space, so anything more than 2 ft. of old snow could be too much for your roof to handle.
Total accumulated weight: two ft. of old snow and two ft. of new snow could weigh as much as 60 lbs per square foot of roof space, which is beyond the typical snow load capacity of most roofs.
Ice: one in. of ice equals one ft. of fresh snow.