It's absolutely mind-boggling to see how much snow weighs when it adds up. Just ask the folks at the Miller Hill Mall who are cleaning up the mess after a section of their roof caved in. We are currently in the 9th snowiest season on record in Duluth, and we are expecting another 4-8" of wet snow by the time this latest round of snow is over.

Lots of people have been trying to clear snow off of their roofs to reduce the load. The structures can only take so much. I was curious how much heavy, wet snow weighed so I dug into it. I found a snow weight calculator online and using some simple math I came up with an example of how this snow could add literally TONS of snow on your home.

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The latest weather forecast from the National Weather Service in Duluth is calling for around 4-8" in Duluth, and higher amounts on Wisconsin's South shore.

National Weather Service Duluth
National Weather Service Duluth
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Using a snow weight calculator, we can determine how much weight could be added to your home if it accumulates. Let's go with a low estimate first on an average-sized roof on a home. Let's say for easy math that the roof is 1,700 square feet. That's the national average according to this roofing contractor.

If you get 4" of snow on your roof:

If we got 4 inches of heavy wet snow, for that roof it would be an estimated range of weight from 14,008 to 29,071 pounds.

Snow accumulating on the roof of a house during a snowstorm.
Eli Wilson
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If you get 8" of snow on your roof:

If you go to the higher end of the forecast at 8 inches of heavy, wet snow the number goes up quite a bit.  That works out to be 31,837 - 66,071 pounds. That's a huge amount of weight.

Keep in mind, using these calculations are for heavy, wet snow. Lighter, fluffy snow would be significantly less. However, with temperatures right at freezing, this is going to be some wet snow.

If you get 1 foot of snow on your roof:

Some places could see a foot or more. That would equal anywhere from 42,449 to 88,094 lbs.

How much snow can your roof handle?

According to an article in USA Today, your average roof can handle 20 pounds per square foot. That's about 4 feet of fresh snow. However, when it settles it becomes denser. So if you have a couple of feet on your roof, it could already be too much.

How do you know if your roof has too much weight?

If you hear popping or creaking noises or water damage, that could be a sign. Also, if you have doors that are jamming up, or windows that won't open, it could mean that too much weight is pushing down on your roof and affecting the structural integrity.

 

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