Severe weather poses a threat to your property year-round
HOW ICE DAMAGES ROOFS
When ice storms occur, thick layers of ice encase trees and weigh down branches, often to a breaking point. Fallen trees and branches can cause severe damage to your roof system by tearing through shingles and puncturing the wooden roof decking that supports them. They can also tear down power lines and block roads, making it difficult to access properties and address damage.
Another serious problem ice storms present is the formation of ice dams on your roof, which generally occurs due to poor attic ventilation. When hot air rises to your attic, it warms the roof from underneath, which melts the snow and ice that has accumulated on the rooftop. The ice melt then runs down to the edges of the roof or near the gutters to an area that is not warmed by trapped and heated attic airspace, where it refreezes and forms a dam. The dam pools and then refreezes additional ice melt, and as this water refreezes it expands and forms wedges of ice that push apart roofing components and create an entry point for moisture to further damages the roof and the interior of the home.
Read More: Ice Dams and Attic Ventilation
When moisture is introduced to these areas, the likelihood of mold growth is high, which can lead to an unhealthy living situation. Furthermore, damage of this kind is costly and results in the need for a partial or total roof replacement.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR ICE STORMS
The best way to prepare for an ice storm is to be proactive. Be sure to keep your roof edges and gutters clear of debris. In the event of ice storms, clogged gutters cause ice to accumulate, which can push debris under the edges of your roof. This can create an entry for moisture, bacteria, insects and even animals like squirrels and bats. Homeowners should hire a professional to trim back trees and branches close to the roof to avoid the accumulation of leaves, possible damage from falling limbs, as well as personal injury.
HOW ICE STORMS FORM
Ice storms occur when a layer of warm air becomes sandwiched between two layers of cold air. The top layer of cold air creates frozen water particles, when the frozen precipitation reaches the middle section of warm air the frozen water melts. The liquid then falls into the second layer of cold air and refreezes before hitting the ground. In this case, the frozen precipitation is referred to as sleet, which then accumulates on outdoor surfaces causing extremely slippery conditions.
The rain droplets that do not refreeze before touching a surface are called ‘super-cooled drops.’ This cold precipitation can quickly refreeze as it comes in contact with surfaces that are at or below freezing temperatures. This process is called freezing rain, which causes a glazing of ice to form. Winter storms are generally categorized as ice storms when ice accumulates to a quarter of an inch or more, according to the National Weather Service1.
ICE STORM FACTS & FIGURES
Many ice storms occur in the New England area, but shifting weather patterns in recent years have brought ice storms to the southern plains and Southeast. According to the Insurance Information Institute, there were nine major winter storms in 2018, resulting in $4.2 billion in total losses and $3 billion in insured losses.
The North American ice storm of 19982 was the most destructive ice storm in recent history. Dangerously thick coatings of ice contributed to power loss in over 3 million households, with some outages persisting for more than six weeks.
An ice storm in 2009 centered from northern Arkansas to the Ohio Valley knocked out power services to 1.3 million people.
In 2014, a massive winter storm brought snow and ice to the southern states3, then quickly moved up the East Coast. In its wake, there were at least 22 deaths4, and 1.2 million homes lost power as the storm moved from the South through the Northeast.
Read More: Tips for Winterizing your Home