EMA officials warn of heavy snow on roofs

(AP Photo/Mike Groll)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Roofs across Southern New England continue to buckle under the weight of the snow that has already fallen — and this weekend’s mix will likely add to the strain.

There have been many reports lately about roof collapses due to heavy snow, and emergency officials are once again urging people to clear their roofs if possible.

Roof rakes are a hot commodity this cold winter, and many stores are running out. But people are still rushing to places like Benny’s to get the tools before the next storm hits.

Scott Bromberg, a spokesman for Benny’s, says that the store is working to get more rakes in stock and that it is hard to keep any roof item in stock this late in February.

“There is an item that kind of looks like a hockey puck that you can throw up there and it will melt and spread down onto your roof but right now we’re out of those too,” he said.

Since the new year, about 55 inches of snow has blanketed Southern New England, and not much of it has melted. Ahead of the next storm — anticipated to come in this weekend — the Rhode Island EMA is urging business and homeowners to check their roofs. Officials say that there should be less than two feet of snow on a roof.

“If you’re unsure of how much snow is up there and your hear noises and you see cracking or you can’t open a door in your house, then you may want to call for some professional help to analyze your roof loading issue,” said Peter Gaynor, Director of the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency.

RIEMA stressed safety is paramount and the anticipated rain could add a lot of extra weight to the snow that is already on your roof.

Benny’s is also selling pumps and shop vacs in case basements start to flood.

Officials say that if you have a storm drain near your house, it might be worth your while to clear it out ahead of the weekend storm.

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