Heavy snow, ice storms and extreme cold can cause severe property damage and also put human and animal lives at risk. Accurate predicting of winter storms can help people prepare by making sure they have adequate fuel, food and other supplies on hand, but an unexpected change in wind direction can result in major snow accumulation in a localized region. In New York, this is often referred to as lake-effect snow because it generally involves geographic areas near Lake Erie or Lake Ontario.
Terms to know:
Winter Storm Outlook - storm conditions are possible in the next 2-5 days.
Winter Storm Watch - storm conditions are possible within the next 36-48 hours.
Winter Weather Advisory - weather conditions may be hazardous.
Winter Storm Warning - severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours.
Click on links below for specific issues:
Winter Weather: Indoor Safety - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Snow loading, the downward force exerted on structures by the weight of accumulated snow, may result in damage to roofs or the actual collapse of the roof itself. In addition to snow accumulation there are other conditions that may contribute to snow loading problems and the potential for roof collapse:
(1) adding insulation to the roof without ventilation may cause condensation & eventual rotting of the rafters or deck;
(2) re-roofing with three or more layers of shingles;
(3) not correcting observable symptoms of structural problems.
Cornell University resources:
Heavy Snow Loads can lead to barn roof failure.
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC):
Tree Emergency Plan Worksheet - For: Urban and Community Foresters, Community Leaders, Public Works and Parks Departments, Planners, Councils, and other Public Officials
Last updated February 6, 2023