Recent snowfall causes rise in collapsing roofs

MARATHON COUNTY, Wis. (WSAW) -- We average about 60 inches of snow for the entire snow season. By Tuesday, we've almost reached that total. Because of all that snow, some homeowners in the area are dealing with collapsing roofs.

Above-average snow totals mean more issues with roofs collapsing (WSAW Photo).

Insurance agency owner Jim Nick says we are not off to a good start this year. He said last weekend he dealt with three structures that caved in because of the snow, and it's only January.

"We haven't had a year like this,” said Nick, agency owner at American Family Insurance.

Nick has seen snow take a toll on homes and garages.

"We've had years where it was bad with buildings going down, but not the end of January,” he said.

It's happening early this year. But it's nothing new for buildings to fall under the weight of snow. As a house gets older, the amount of snow the structure can tolerate goes down.

"Over time, the construction getting wet and drying and heating and cooling, the snow load decreases,” Nick said.

Which is why community leader Debra Ryan says some in the Westies group have considered metal roofs.

"They tend to have a life of over 50 years, and the snow tends not to stick, so it's a way of being able to take that snow load off of your roof,” said Ryan.

Ryan also said some are weighing the pros and cons of having a gutter. While it provides many advantages, it also can be dangerous in helping form ice dams when packed snow melts.

But she's urging her neighbors to make sure they stay on top of cleaning their roofs.

"It's a good time, since we are still in the middle of winter, to look at reducing that snow load from your roof,” she said.

Nick says making sure you have a system for clearing your roof or hiring a professional will save you from having to call your insurance company later.