Roof Collapses Mount Across Boston Region in Weekend Snow, Rain

By Tom Moroney | February 23, 2015

Roofs continue to collapse under record snow across the Boston area, most over warehouses and barns, as the latest weekend storm brings three to five inches of snow, topped off by up to a half-inch of rain in some areas.

Sunday’s tally shows 128 roofs have failed in the last two weeks, up from 106 roofs on Friday, according to Peter Judge, spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, MEMA.

A barn roof collapse in Andover, Massachusetts, where several horses were rescued Sunday is typical of what local and state emergency personnel are seeing, Judge said. Cave-ins on residential property have been limited to attached garages, decks and other structures that are not inhabited. There have been no serious injuries, he said.

A winter weather advisory has been posted for the region until 1 p.m. local time Sunday as light snow, sleet and some freezing continued to fall, according to Frank Nocera, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Taunton, Massachusetts.

The areas of prime concern for more structural failures are southeastern Massachusetts including Cape Cod where a half-inch of rain fell in some spots overnight and Rhode Island, he said.

Nocera said his agency had received a report of a partial roof collapse over a Lowe’s Home Improvement Center in Warwick, Rhode Island, in this latest batch of precipitation.

In Massachusetts, the number is expected to climb over the next few days, Judge said.

Sagging roofs, leaks inside the house and cracked or split wood in the structural makeup of the dwelling are all signs of trouble, MEMA said on its website.

To ease the roof’s load, the state recommends a snow rake — if you can find one for sale. Start from the edge and work inward, shaving the piles down to two or three inches. Scraping the roof clean will risk damage to shingles and other roofing material, MEMA advises.

As of late last week, Boston had received 98.7 inches (about 250 centimeters) at Logan International Airport, making the current winter the snowiest on record behind 1995-1996, when 107.6 inches fell.

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