2018-01-04 / Front Page

Snow-heavy roofs can cause house damage

By Amy Hubbell
Of The Enterprise staff

Eric Shawbitz’ phone has been ringing off the hook after the weekend weather that buried some parts of the county with nearly two feet of snow.

He’s been responding to calls from people who can’t be helped by traditional snow removal services.

“I’m the guy who gets called in when your plow guy says ‘no way’ and loaders are getting stuck in the driveway,” the Lake Leelanau contractor said.

Shawbitz has a 54-inch snowblower on the back of his tractor to move what has been ample supply of snow courtesy of Mother Nature.

Regular weather watcher Leif Sporck of Suttons Bay recorded more than 20 inches of snow after Saturday’s lake effect episode, pushing his season snowfall tally to 116 inches as of Tuesday.

In Maple City, 71.1 inches of snow has been measured at the National Weather Service (NWS) cooperative weather station this season. More than 16 inches fell during a three-day period beginning Friday and ending Sunday.

Snow has piled up on roofs as much as sidewalks. In the past week unseasonably cold temperatures in single-digit and teens have kept snow light and fluffy.

But a warm-up could change the consistency of the snow and cause issues for homeowners.

Shawbitz, also the owner of Peninsula Tree & Stone, is able to put his tree-cutting tools to work removing snow from roofs.

“The worst I’ve seen is 30 inches on the roof,” he said. “It’s light and fluffy now, but if it warms up it will get a lot heavier.”

Lane Wildfong of Suttons Bay based Story Roofing has also been popular this week.

“I’ve got six roofs lined up or I’m in the process of shoveling,” he said. “The last couple winters haven’t been ‘normal.’ We’re back to normal again.”

The roofing contractor suggested homeowners keep and eye out for weather-related issues that could result in property damage.

“Make sure that vents are uncovered and check for ice buildup,” Wildfong said. “Most insurance companies won’t cover weather-related roof issues because they’re considered maintenance.”

The NWS forecast calls for cold temperatures to continue with highs in the teens through Sunday when it could reach a “balmy” high of 30.

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