Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas Day Disaster

I don't think I've written about snow avalanching off the roof.  Deep snow and cold temperatures are not a problem here in the snowbelt.  Snow tires and snow plows can take care of the driving, and skiis or snowshoes can get you out to enjoy winter.  But temperatures that rise above freezing, or rain on top of snow, are a REAL problem.

We woke on Christmas morning to find this on our back deck.  The snow on the roof had been over 2 feet deep after our big storm, but I got out the roof rake and pulled the worst of that down.  But then we had this crazy rise in temperatures and the snow came loose on the roof; down it came like an avalanche.  Not only is the snow now stuck on the deck, but we have a major repair to the eavestrough this spring!

Do you know what snow from a roof avalanche is like?  If it's near freezing, or even worse above freezing, the snow turns to white ice very quickly.  If I don't get it pushed out of the way quickly, it's almost immovable.  You have to chop it into chunks with a steel shovel first!  But we were headed out of town shortly, so I just got a path to the back door shovelled, and we had to leave it like this.

This is the roof rake, snow removed from the roof, and our nice clean deck which I was working hard to keep clear of snow for the winter.  I even used the roof rake on the garage and front of the house, loosened the snow so it all avalanched off, but immediately used the snowblower to clean it off.  It's only the back roof over the deck that causes a problem, because that's the lee side of the house and the snow accumulates a lot deeper.

It gets worse.  Over Boxing Day, while we were away, the temperature rose to 10°C, well above freezing, and then it rained!  Then it dropped below freezing again and all the wet snow froze into solidified white ice.  This is our back deck now - it's going to stay like this until it melts!

I was so pleased with myself for keeping this deck clear after out big snowfall, but I won't be clearing this any time soon because it's frozen in place!

And then there's the driveway.  I'd been keeping it nice and clear too, but after being away two days, and the high temperatures and rain that intervened, it's mostly a sheet of ice.  This has happened before, and it's treacherous, because our driveway goes uphill.

Luckily the packed down snow on the drive was still fairly thin, and the gravel was showing through on both edges, so we could drive down (VERY CAREFULLY!).  Everyone here uses snow tires!  I got out my supply of pickled sand, and spread enough to create a track for driving up and for walking across the driveway to the garage.  We've had worse.

The 'pickled sand' is a gift from the local sander, about six years ago.  The tailgate on a sanding truck must have swung open, and the truck left behind a track of sand six feet wide, 20 feet long, and 3" deep on our road.  I took all the pails I could find, and filled them up with the sand, already preloaded with salt ('pickled').  I've only used half my winter sand supply since, so I have enough for a long time yet.  The eavestrough is another story.

Anyway, we're safely back home after Christmas and starting to relax before New Year's!


18 comments:

  1. That's going to be a headache come spring. Keep an eye on your ceilings, just in case there was roof damage.

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  2. Quite the mess. Years ago we had a building collapse under similar circumstances, three feet of snow on the roof with a heavy rain. We shoveled the roof on several other buildings but our engineer told us to never unload only one side of a roof -- try to do it a little bit at a time as evenly as possible on both sides.

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  3. Some of the homes with metal roofs in the Windsor area have some kind of safety bar that protects their Eaves Troughs and somehow causes the snow/ice to melt away before having such an Avalanche.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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  4. You couldn't get a worse weather combination that that.

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  5. Wow, that looks so bad, and a heap of hard work. So glad it is there to stay for a while, until you recuperate from looking at it. Pickled sand, that is a great idea, here the trucks use grit, no salt, and sometimes mix CMA ( Calcium Magnesium Acetate)to prevent skids or ice forming.

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  6. Sorry about your house and deck. What a bummer....

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  7. Oh dear - just awful. Makes me even happier that we live in the rainy winter Pacific Northwest - we had snow for three days and today it rained and melted it all - hurray. Hope your troubles aren't too bad in the spring.

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  8. We stopped travelling for the holidays because of the weather and its effect on the house. Who know what one will return to? I am glad the damage wasn't worse. You are fortunate to have the sand.

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  9. Sorry to hear about your roof avalanche and ice problems FG.

    On the way up to our cottage after Christmas I was wondering what havoc the warm temperature and rain may have caused. I had cleared the snow in the drive and on the deck just over a week ago hoping to avoid any frozen masses. My luck was much better than yours as we had no avalanche (asphalt singles) and snow on the ground had nearly melted.

    At least you had a free delivery of pickled sand.

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  10. Oh the memories, of snow avalanches thanks for the pictures and glad we are not there right now. Keep warm.

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  11. Glad you're home safe and sound. That driveway does look treacherous, and that solid block of snow looks daunting, to say the least. Nobody was hurt in your disaster, that's a good thing. :-)

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  12. We ditched eaves troughs on our back roof years ago. I know this isn't an option for most folks, but our drainage is really good here. When the mess comes crashing off the roof, it's the clothesline and the deck railings that are at risk. Surprisingly, one of the railings survived the crash last year, but the spindles under it broke. I knocked the ice spears down yesterday. They scare the begingoes out of me after getting hit and knocked out one time.

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  13. Oh my goodness. Take care going up and down that drive and don't end up in a ditch or down a hill. Carol

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  14. My what a mess. please be careful, don't fall and break any bones on that ice.

    Have a wonderful New Year.

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  15. About ten years ago we had a very snowy winter with a similar warming and freezing cycle. Our troughs survived but froze completely full with ice. We tried melting it with hot water from the woodstove and salt. It was a messy job but it took some weight out of the gutters so they didn't rip off. - Margy

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  16. These changeable temperatures from day to day this year are crazy.
    That's a lot of snow to come down. Too bad about the damage to your house.
    Stay safe on that ice.

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  17. I have no idea what snow and ice on a roof is like, we don't get cold enough here where we are for temperatures like that, how cold does it get there?

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  18. Yes what comes off the roof is like cement! We don't have eave troughs or rain gutters, they would be ripped off all the time. You have a job next spring! We have rocks under our eaves on both sides of the house, under the rock is heavy plastic that slopes away from the house ...that snow is always the last to melt:)

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