Skip to content

WINTER DANGERS: Accumulating heavy snow increases the risks of roof collapse

snow of roof-1293938985 (1)-1


Heavy snow accumulating on roofs increases the risk of roof collapse resulting in business disruptions and severe injury to employees and customers.

Key Highlights

Roofs are designed to support 30 pounds per square foot

Business owners should hire contractors to remove snow from roofs

A roof collapse can cause significant business disruptions and harm employees

A roof at The Miller Hill Mall in Duluth, MN, collapsed on March 14 after more than a foot of snow from a major winter storm fell across the U.S. Emergency officials ordered employees at the mall to evacuate. Luckily, no one was hurt. AccuWeather For Business meteorologists warned about the dangerous system several days in advance. Over 12 inches of snow fell in Duluth between Sunday and Monday, with nearly 7 inches falling on Monday alone. The snow that fell was very wet, heavy snow that accumulated on top of businesses and warehouses. 

AccuWeather For Business warned that heavy snow accumulating on roofs could lead to a roof collapse resulting in business disruptions and severe injury to employees and customers. According to AccuWeather Forensic Meteorologists Steve Wistar, business owners should hire contractors to remove snow or use rakes if the roof is within reach. Roofs are designed to support 30 pounds per square foot, but some roofs can support up to 100 pounds per square foot, according to the ASCE Standard Handbook.

Businesses using AccuWeather’s Snow Warning Service were better prepared for this storm and their employees safer because they received advance notice of the winter storm and more accurate, pinpoint forecasts. Clients received the start and stop times and accumulation totals throughout the storm. Receiving more advance notice allows business owners to secure contractors in advance to remove heavy snow from roofs quickly.

Protect your business and team members by making the best weather-impacted decisions with  AccuWeather's Snow Warning Service, backed by forecasts and warnings with Superior Accuracy™. Businesses get location-specific forecasts and 24x7x365 consulting services for snow, ice, blizzards, and other winter-hazard events. 

AccuWeather's Snow Warning Service features include: 

  • Precise weather event start and end times
  • Total expected snow and ice accumulations
  • Specific changeover times for snow, ice, and rain
  • Hourly temperatures and wind conditions before, during, and after the storm
  • Post-storm weather conditions, including verified precipitation amounts. 

Reduce liability, increase safety, and substantially reduce the risk of injury to your employees and customers with AccuWeather For Business. Contact us today for more about how we can help your business be better prepared and your people safer.

>>Subscribe to our AccuWeather For Business Blog for the latest news and weather updates that will impact you and your business.

Make the best weather-impacted decisions every time.

Contact us today and protect your business, employees, and assets.