Stay Safe: Snow Loads and Other Hazards

Current Hazards

With temperatures rising above freezing in the lowlands, our concerns have shifted from snow to other hazards. The National Weather Service in Seattle has compiled a list of the potential hazards we face this week:

Landslides: As snow slowly melts it will seep into the soils, increasing the threat of landslides. This threat is currently highest below 1,000 feet where precipitation has changed to rain. The landslide risk will spread north through the coming days.

Roof Collapse: Rain falling into wet, heavy snow will add strain to roofs. If a roof is in imminent danger of collapse, stay away and call 9-1-1.

Snow Loads: Wet, heavy snow can down power lines. Snow can also cause downed branches and trees, also leading to outages. Wet, heavy snow can cause branches or trees to fall on homes, vehicles and people.

Slush: Many secondary roads and side streets have deep slush or compact snow and ice. Overnight lows, especially Wednesday night and Thursday morning, may result in areas of black ice, impacting commutes/travel.

Neighborhood Flooding: Rain and melting snow in the lowlands may combine with clogged storm drains to create areas of standing water. This can cause motorists to hydroplane. Area streams will also rise.

Stay Safe

As our region digs out from the most significant snowstorm in years, take some simple steps to keep yourself and your family safe:

  • Removing snow from your roof with a shovel can trigger unexpected snow slides causing crushing/suffocating injuries or death. Keep people and animals away from potential slide zones.
  • It is strongly recommend you not access your roof to clear snow. Climbing on a roof increases the load already stressed by the heavy snow load. The use of ladders when removing snow from your roof can pose additional hazards.
  • Consider hiring experts who have experience and specialized equipment for safely clearing snow or ice.
  • Clear any accumulation of snow around side wall vents that connect to household appliances, such as a clothes dryer.