Terrifying videos show the dangers of snow collecting on roofs of buildings. In one, a roof buckles under the weight of heavy snow, causing an entire office building to collapse.
In another, a gas station canopy comes crashing down under the weight of snow and ice.
A surveillance camera captures the moment as a store roof caves in under the weight of snow. The staff escaped just in time.
It's not just commercial buildings at risk. Across America, millions of homes are blanketed with snow and bracing for yet another storm.
INSIDE EDITION's Les Trent spoke with home safety expert Ron Hazelton who says it doesn't take a mountain of snow to put your home in the danger zone. Just two feet of snow on a roof can weigh nineteen tons.
"I have to say this is probably four or five times as bad as I've ever seen it. This snow is melted, it's gotten frozen again, and it's rained on, so it's heavy snow," says Hazelton.
If you have a flat roof on your home, you're at greatest risk, but even if your roof is slanted, you still have to watch out.
Hazelton says you need to clear the snow off the edges of your roof and out of the gutters so water can drain, but whatever you do, don't go up on the roof to do the cleaning. Instead, use a roof rake.
"You want to be really careful when you're doing this, that you're not under the eave here, because I could be pulling off chunks of frozen snow," says Hazelton as he demonstrates how to use the roof rake.
Unfortunately hardware stores across the country are sold out of roof rakes.
"So how bad has this winter been?" Trent asks.
INSIDE EDITION went to a True Value store in Fairfield, CT and found that they were totally out of roof rakes and shovels. In fact they've started a waiting list for customers who want roof rakes.
But if you can't get your hands on a roof rake, you can make one yourself.
So how do you know if your home is in the danger zone? Look for these signs:
- Creaking, cracking or popping sounds
- Sagging roof steel, cracked or split wood members
- Sprinkler heads pushed below ceiling tiles
- Water leaking through roof in your house
- Doors that pop open
- Doors and windows that are suddenly difficult to open
- Bowed walls