Avoiding Dangers Of Rooftop Snow

Avoiding Dangers Of Rooftop Snow

The great city of Atlanta is a ghost town today. The stores closed. The streets deserted. The interstate heading into the city is all but empty. Drive these streets at your own risk.

All across America, people are dealing not just with dangerous roadways but also a danger from above. Sheets of ice flew off an apartment building in Dallas, smashing a car below.

Another ice shower slid down an apartment building in Plano, Texas.

And hunks of jagged ice rain down more from the tallest building in America, the new World Trade Center, still under construction in New York City.

A video was shot at a hotel in Pennsylvania of many chunks of snow and ice sliding off the roof, but it can happen at your home too, and every homeowner needs to be aware of it.

INSIDE EDITION's Paul Boyd spoke with home safety expert Ron Hazelton.

Hazelton said, "What happens, especially if it rains, you get a layer of ice on top of the snow. That ice is very hard if it comes off the roof."

As the snow accumulates, roofs can also buckle under the weight. Two feet of snow on a roof can weigh 19 tons!

A building in Michigan collapsed when the roof caved in. And a gas station canopy, piled high with snow, came crashing down.

"You want to get it off if you can, but you don't want to put yourself in danger," said Hazelton.

Hazelton says, whatever you do, never get up on the roof to clear snow. Instead, Hazelton says use a roof rake, standing well back as the snow and ice comes tumbling down.

Unfortunately, hardware stores across the country are sold out of roof rakes.

So, just how bad has it been this winter? At a hardware store in Fairfield, Connecticut, and at others throughout the area, they are sold out. They used to be stacked high but there's not one left.

In fact, there's a chronic shortage of all winter supplies, from snow shovels to salt. If you can't get your hands on a roof rake, Ron Hazelton says you can make one yourself.

Describing one he built, Hazelton noted, "I built this with scrap wood. I've made this as light as I could."

Hazleton also has a good tip to prevent painful scenes like slipping on the ice. Cleats that fit right over your shoes and grip the ice.

"It's like putting snow tires on a car," he noted.

Valuable tips to keep you safe as this endless winter drags on.