Rain Brings Danger of Roof Failures in New England

By Anthony Sagliani, Meteorologist
February 11, 2013; 8:15 AM ET
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Play video Weather for the Northeast is detailed in the above AccuWeather.com video.

After one of the great winter storms in New England history left behind some of the highest snowfall totals ever observed across the region, a much weaker storm will bring new dangers for Monday.

The next storm will be a warmer system, spreading rain across the Northeast on during the day.

However, enough cold air will be in place for the rain to start as an icy mix north and west of Interstate 95 from Philadelphia northward, with a wintry mix expected throughout the entirety of the storm across far northern New England.

Where the rain falls, totals will generally range from 0.25-0.50 inches.

While that amount of rain would not cause flooding on a typical day, AccuWeather.com meteorologists are worried that flooding will occur in low-lying and urban areas along the I-95 corridor from New York City to Boston as the rain and melting snow overwhelms storm drains, some that are likely still covered by snow.

There is also concern that the massive snowpack still covering many area roofs will soak up the rain like a sponge, causing it to gain even more weight and volume than it already has.

This means that for those in communities across Long Island and from New Haven, Conn., to Portland, Maine, who have not yet cleared the snow from their atop their homes and businesses, there is a high danger for potential collapse. This is especially true for weaker, older structures.

How To Keep Your Roof From Collapsing
New England Blizzard Recap: Snow Totals Up to 40"

The roof collapse of a home on Saturday in the town of Selden, N.Y., which is on Long Island, resulted in complete destruction of the home, reported CBS New York. The town inspector condemned the home almost immediately.

Another roof collapse, again on Long Island, happened at an empty bowling alley in Smithtown, according to the Associated Press. The entire midsection of the structure completely caved in.

Physically speaking, pitched roofs can handle more weight than flat roofs. However, only an engineer can tell you for sure how much weight your roof can handle.

Keep in mind, progressively colder air is forecast to sweep into New England later this week behind this system.

The slushy snow left on your roof and elsewhere will likely freeze solid soon after as cold air rushes back in. You may be stuck with it for a long time.

There are additional storms on the horizon through the middle part of February. Some will bring minor, nuisance snow, others have the potential to drop heavy snow with more weight to go with it.

Keep checking back with AccuWeather.com for the latest updates on this impending rain and ice situation.


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