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Rick Worthington Snow and Structures
by Rick Worthington, click here for bio

Program: Farm and Ranch Report
Date: February 20, 2019

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Snow and Structures

Winter storms across the west have brought on some serious issues for farmers and ranchers.

There have been mudslides, flooding and in many places - more snow dumping on them than they can keep up with.

Katie Wantoch is an Ag Extension agent and says when it comes to heavy snow amounts, be sure to add checking your structures to the chore list.

Most buildings are not at risk of snow induced failure. More

often than not, attempting to remove snow from a roof is more

hazardous than beneficial, posing a risk to both personnel and

the roofing structure. However, snow accumulation in excess of building

design conditions can result in more than a temporary loss of electrical

power and inaccessible roads. Buildings may be vulnerable to structural

failure and possible collapse if basic preventative steps are not taken in

advance of a snow event. Knowledge of the building roof framing system

1-2 SNOW LOAD SAFETY GUIDE

and proper preparation in advance of a snow event is instrumental in

reducing risk to the structure.

Structural failure due to roof snow loads may be linked to several possible

causes, including but not limited to the following:

n Actual snow load significantly exceeds design snow load

n Drifting and sliding snow conditions

n Deficient workmanship

n Insufficient operation and maintenance

n Improper design

n Inadequate drainage design

n Insufficient design; in older buildings, insufficient design is often

related to inadequate snow load design criteria in the building

code in effect when the building was designed.

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