Danger lurks on snowy roofs | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Danger lurks on snowy roofs

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune John Torres clears off snow from the eaves of his Sierra Tract home Thursday afternoon.

Storms that lashed the Lake Tahoe Basin over the past few weeks have left more than dirty snow berms piled high in front of homes and businesses from Zephyr Cove to Meyers.

Waist-deep mounds of snow thatched precariously to rooftops can be seen up and down Highway 50 and the neighborhoods throughout town, which not only make for leaky roofs, but also are safety hazards when the ice begins to shed.

“There are dangers with roofs, especially pitched ones, so you want to know where you’re walking,” said Brad Piazzo, a division chief for the South Lake Tahoe Fire Department. “We get calls every season where someone gets hit by falling chunks, so it’s always good to be aware of your surroundings.”

Piazzo advises the following:

— Do not walk or park your vehicle underneath rooftops. Ice chunks easily break when the sun is shining.

— Remove snow buildup. This means shoveling snow off the pitches so the ice can slide off. After storms, ice will build on roofs and dam up areas where it normally should drain. This allows water to drip into a roof’s interior, causing damage.

— Remove the snowload. The loads on rooftops are especially heavy and should be removed once snow has turned to ice. Even a foot of snow can damage a roof or cause it to collapse.

— Clear the snow from areas where there are gas valve or electric switches and fire hydrants. Never pile snow in places that you must get to immediately.

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