If you don’t like the weather in Michigan, wait five minutes. So goes the saying about our climate here, which can change rapidly due to the influence of the Great Lakes, among other factors.
After a few weeks of steady and at times heavy snowfall, the last few days here have seen temps in the upper 30s and low 40s with plenty of sunshine. While the warmer weather and extra vitamin D is a welcome change, this brief glimpse of Spring can actually create some dangerous and damaging conditions.
Freeze-thaw cycles can result in enormous amounts of stress on certain structures, especially roadways and concrete buildings. When building materials contract and expand with fluctuating temperatures, they become more susceptible to failure. The same concept applies to residential homes.
When snow melts and liquid water drips down the grade of your roof, it can re-freeze along the edge or in the eavestrough. This process can create heavy and dangerous ice dams and icicles. Poor insulation can exacerbate the problem significantly. When enough ice builds up along the edge of a house or other building, it becomes a hazard to life and property. The weight of the ice can damage the roof, and water trapped behind an ice dam can seep into the structure. Falling ice can cause serious injury or death.
The risks of ice dams can be mitigated with a few simple actions. One way to reduce the risk is to ensure your eaves and downspouts are clear of debris in order to let melting snow drain from the roof and away from the building. Another way to reduce the risk is to keep snow on your roof to a minimum by “raking” the snow off, although this should be done very carefully as standing directly underneath the roofline puts you in the “fall zone” and standing on the roof to rake comes with the danger of falling or collapsing the roof. Other tips include insulating your attic and installing vents on the ridge of your roof and the soffit overhanging the side of your home.
Growing up in East Grand Rapids, Michigan, Nolan Erickson began working at Church Wyble PC in 2007 as a law clerk. Now as an attorney with Grewal Law, Mr. Erickson has developed extensive experience with all phases of trial and pre-trial resolution of personal injury matters, including major auto accident, medical malpractice, and other serious injury cases.