That Giant Ice Layer on the Roof Above the Icicles Can’t Be Good

I was expecting to join my friend Ed for lunch at the cafe today, but instead, i heard his anxious voice on my office voicemail. “I’m sorry I can’t make lunch today,” he said, “we have a terrible situation at the house. The ice dams are building up and it’s a total disaster! I have to wait for the insurance adjuster…sorry.”

Then a second incident, my bookkeeper, Kim, on the phone. “I can’t come in because three of our cars were crushed by our carport!”  She said that it happened last night at about 3 am the ice and snow just crushed that flat roof. They heard a bang, and then all three vehicles were damaged, and now they’re stuck up in Conway.

As I raked some of the snow off my roof, I realized that as I stood in the thigh-high snow, there was no way I could get it all off, and I looked up at those ice dams, the ominous band of ice about five inches thick on the edge of the roof. All over our neighborhood, I kept looking up at the edges of other roofs, and wondering how bad those shingles underneath were doing. How could such stalagtite-esque formations be created when the attic is insulated?

I read a story in the Wall St. Journal today that explained how contractors in the midwest were getting $250-300 an hour for spraying high pressure water or steam at roof-bound snow. Others are vowing to install roof heating systems to avoid getting all this ice up there in the first place. One company, Garelick, even makes a roof rake with wheels to help avoid tearing the shingles off with the ice.

Something tells me that next spring there will be a whole lot of new roof heating systems installed, as people won’t want this kind of anxiety if the winter of 2012 proves as wicked as what we’ve seen in this short winter, the one of seven storms in less than eight weeks.