Watch CBS News

How to prevent roof collapse during heavy snow

How to prevent a roof collapse during heavy snow events
How to prevent a roof collapse during heavy snow events 01:57

NEVADA COUNTY - Heavy snow piling up is causing some roofs to collapse in the Sierra, and officials in lower elevations are urging people to hire professionals to clear roofs.

"We got about five feet of snow," said Stella Vergara who lives in Gold Run.

She and her husband have been working to clear the snow off their roof.

"We just have a shovel," said Vergara. "And a ladder just to be safe."

Other roofs in mountain communities have turned to rubble.

"I have been up on a roof even to just brush a little snow off, and you would slip right off," said Terry Johnson who lives in Colfax.

Tahoe Douglas Fire put out a video teaching people how to safely clear a roof. It lists signs to look for to know when it is time to clear your roof, some including sagging ceiling tiles, popping, cracking or creaking noises, bowing trusses and severe roof leaks.

Nevada County Director of Building George Schureck said this amount of snow is abnormal for people in lower elevations. Meanwhile, people in higher elevations are used to getting this much snow and are better equipped to clear it.

"It is not just snow up there on the roof lines," said Schureck. "There is a lot of ice, so a broom is not going to do the trick."

Instead, he advises people to hire a professional contractor to do the job. He also warns people using gas appliances to clear vents and chimneys.

"That snowpack can keep some carbon monoxide in the house, and as we know that is a very dangerous thing," Schureck told CBS13.

It could get even more dangerous with rain and potentially flash flooding in the forecast.

"That rain will add a lot of weight to the snow until it melts it off," said Schureck. "If you have a steep pitch on your roof, you are going to be fine."

Schureck said low-pitch or flat roofs are most at risk since water and ice will not melt off as quickly. That is why now is the time to clear a path for water to go away from your home.

"They helped us shovel a little, we helped them," said Vergara. "Everybody just helps. It is a very caring community."

Nevada County is asking residents to choose a local licensed reliable contractor from its list to do this work.  

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.