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Roofs and Decks at Risk in Coming Storm

With a mixture of snow, rain and ice forecast for Tuesday morning, homeowners may want to check their roofs. "The existing snow load on flat roofs and decks combined with around 1 to 1 ½ inches of liquid precipitation may result in some roof and deck failures," Michele DeLuca, deputy director of emergency management for the Norwalk Fire Department, said in a press release issued Monday, Jan. 17.

DeLuca is also concerned about slick roads. She said forecasts call for mixed precipitation Tuesday morning, which will likely coat roads with 1 to 2 inches of snow. This will be followed by a moderate glazing of sleet and ice that could make driving slick, especially on bridges and on/off ramps.

The precipitation is forecast to add approximately 30 percent to 50 percent more weight to roofs and decks that already have a deep snowpack resting on them. If there is more than two inches of rain, risk of failure would be expected to increase significantly.

Officials recommend that caution be exercised and roof and deck loads be monitored closely by appropriate personnel. Property owners with flat roofs should ensure that roof drains are clear. Rainwater leaking into the building is a sign that roof drains are clogged with ice and snow. Pooling rainwater on roofs is a potentially disastrous situation that could result in structural failure.

Deluca said ice storms are very difficult to accurately predict in advance. Right now, icing is expected to range from ¼ to ½ inch, which is capable of causing a moderate number of power outages.

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