Winter Weather: Flagstaff officials warn of roof failure dangers following extreme snow loads

Officials with the City of Flagstaff say residents should check their structures for sangs of damage or stress following recent heavy snowfall.

According to the National Weather Service, various parts of Northern Arizona have received above-average snowfall so far this winter. In the Flagstaff area, a winter storm that moved into Flagstaff during the late night hours of Feb. 28 brought 24.5 inches of snow to some areas, as of Mar. 2.

In a statement released on Mar. 4, city officials said several roofs have collapsed within the area due to significant snowfall and resultant snow loads. They say signs of damage or stress from snow load include:

  • Sagging ceiling tiles or boards
  • Ceiling boards falling out of the ceiling grid
  • Sagging sprinkler lines and sprinkler heads
  • Sprinkler heads deflecting below suspended ceilings
  • Popping, cracking, and creaking noises
  • Sagging roof members, including metal decking or plywood sheathing
  • Bowing truss bottom chords or web members
  • Doors and/or windows that can no longer be opened or closed
  • Cracked or split wood members
  • Cracks in walls or masonry
  • Severe roof leaks
  • Excessive accumulation of water at non-drainage locations on low slope roofs

Officials also remind people that when removing snow, icicles can be dislodged, and falling icicles can cause damage or injuries even if they are falling from a short height, and that roof snow can slide at any moment when a snow rake is being used to remove snow.

Officials say Flagstaff or Coconino County residents who see the signs listed above, or feel they have a structural issue, can call the City of Flagstaff/Coconino County Joint Information Line at (928) 679-8525.

This story was reported on from Phoenix.

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A photo showing damage to a roof from excessive snow load (Courtesy: City of Flagstaff)

(Courtesy: City of Flagstaff)