How Heavy is Snow?

Dawn KruegerSnow Removal, Winter Tips

Heavy Snow on Roof

When you think of snow, the picture of small snowflakes that fall on the ground would come to your mind. Based on that, you might think that snow is not heavy at all. But if you’ve ever tried shoveling snow, you know that snow is quite heavy, and it can cause much more damage than you can think. So how heavy is snow? Let’s take a look because the weight of snow can not only be hard on your back if you are trying DIY snow removal, but it will also determine the impact that snow accumulating on the ground can create.

How much does snow weigh?

Even though the snowflakes are quite fluffy and light in weight, accumulated snow can be quite heavy. One cubic foot of FRESH snow would weigh around 4 pounds. If you have a roof that covers an extent of around 5,000 square feet, it will be holding fresh & fluffy snow that weighs around 16,000 to 22,000 pounds.

However, snow tends to be much heavier when it is settled. That’s because snow becomes compact as it settles. This is the main reason why SETTLED snow can weigh around 12 to 18 pounds per cubic foot. If snow is compact and settled on top of your 5,000 square feet roof, it would be holding a weight of around 62,000 to 94,000 pounds.

What about the weight of WET snow?

As you can imagine, wet snow tends to be even heavier than settled snow. A square foot of wet and slushy snow can weigh around 25 to 51 pounds. If you have wet and slushy snow on top of your 5,000 square feet roof, you will be getting it to hold in between 125,000 to 260,000 pounds of snow. This is around 8 to 12 times heavier when compared to fresh snow!!

Why should you be mindful of how much snow weighs?

Now you are aware of the weight of snow. But why do you really have to bother about it? That’s because your roof has to bear the weight of the snow. If you don’t want your roof to collapse, you need to be mindful of the amount of weight it might be holding.

As per the building codes, a roof is made appropriately to hold the weight of an average snowfall. However, you should be mindful of the weight of snow that lies on top of your roof, especially during a snowstorm. If there is heavy snowfall and if there is lots of wet snow, there is a high possibility for the roof to collapse if it is not structurally sound.

Is heavy snow really dangerous?

Yes, heavy snow can be quite dangerous, and you should never underestimate it. Whether you own a residential property or a commercial property, you should be aware of the dangers associated with heavy snowfall.

  • Heavy snow can weaken your roof

One of the biggest things you need to be mindful of about a heavy snowfall is the amount of stress that it can create on your roof. If wet and heavy snow accumulates on your roof for an extended period of time, you will be allowing the roof to weaken. This is why you will need to work with a snow removal company and take appropriate measures to get rid of snow as much as possible. This will help you with saving your roof.

  • Heavy snow can create ice dams

It is also important to keep in mind that heavy snowfall can take a longer time period to melt. If the gutters of your property are not clear, you will be creating an ideal environment for the formation of ice dams. These ice dams can also create property damage.

  • Heavy snow can make nearby trees weak

If you have trees in the yard or on your commercial property, be mindful of the strength of the branches after a heavy snowfall as well. That’s because heavy snowfall can weaken the limbs of trees and break them. There are situations where entire trees collapse after a heavy snowstorm. Hence, it would be a good idea to trim or get rid of the trees that are dangerous to your property before the winter season. Then you don’t need to worry too much about property damage that could happen.

  • Heavy snow can make power lines go down

Heavy snowfall can make the power lines in your area go down. If this happens, you will have to live without power for hours or even days. People in Texas had to deal with this situation a couple of years ago.

How to avoid damage from a heavy snowfall

Now you are aware of the potential dangers that heavy snowfall can create. While keeping that in mind, you should also take appropriate measures to minimize the impact that heavy snowfall can create. Here are some tips that can help you with it.

  • Inspect the roof

You will need to properly inspect your roof before the winter season. This will help you to determine whether your roof is in perfect condition or not. You will also be able to overcome problems that heavy ice and snow accumulation can create. For example, if there are any cracks in your roof, you will need to deal with them as they can make your roof weaken during heavy snowfall.

  • Cut damaged or dead tree limbs

As mentioned earlier, you will need to cut damaged or dead tree limbs of the trees that can cause property damage. This will even help you to keep yourself protected from personal injuries that could take place.

  • Properly inspect the drainage system and gutters

It is a good idea to take time and properly inspect the drainage system and gutters. Clogged gutters can make your roof weaken pretty fast during a snowfall. That’s because it can cause ice dams to form. But if you properly clean the drainage system and gutters, you can minimize this risk.

Snow Removal Services in Maryland

As you can see, snow can be quite heavy than you think, and you should never underestimate the impact that it creates. While keeping the facts in mind, you will need to take appropriate measures to deal with heavy snowfall. A professional snow removal company like Rasevic Companies can surely help you with it – if you are in the Maryland / Washington DC area. If you’d like a quote, just contact us today!