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Forecasted Rain Prompts Roof Collapse Warning From MEMA

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A Lexington man clears snow off his roof.

A Lexington man clears snow off his roof.

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FRAMINGHAM (CBS) – With up to two feet of snow blanketing eastern Massachusetts, and rain in the forecast, Massachusetts Emergency Management officials are warning people of the possibilities of ice dams and roof collapses.

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In an email, MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz offered up tips to cut down on the risks of damage:

• Be on the alert for large accumulating snow build-up or snowdrifts on your roofs, particularly roofs that are flat on only have a slight pitch, as on garages, car ports or porches.

• If roof snow can be removed, from the ground, with the use of a snow rake (available at most hardware stores), do so. Use caution, as metal snow rakes conduct electricity if they come into contact with a power line.

• Try to avoid working from ladders, as ladder rungs tend to ice up. Snow and ice collect on boot soles, and metal ladders.

• Flat roofs can be shoveled clear, but only if it is determined that the roof is safe to stand upon. Exercise care when on the roof to avoid potentially dangerous falls.

• Flat roof drainage systems should be kept clear to minimize the risk of excess roof ponding in the event of subsequent heavy rainfall or melting.

• Large icicles can form on roof overhangs, but do not necessarily mean ice damming is occurring. Icicles overhanging doorways and walkways can be dangerous and should be carefully removed.

• All of the mentioned actions should only be performed by able-bodied adults, as the snow is heavy, and roofs and other surfaces may be slippery. Protective headgear and eye protection is recommended.

MEMA officials also recommend clearing storm drains and areas around fire hydrants.

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