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HAILEY — As of noon Tuesday, the current roof snow load is estimated to be 70.20 pounds per square foot in the vicinity of Hailey. Local building officials measured about 54 pounds per square foot at the old courthouse, 57.5 pounds at Audubon Drive, 57.5 pounds at Lower Board Ranch and 64 pounds at Hulen Meadows.

The city of Hailey excerpts the snow water equivalent data from nrcs.usda.gov for estimated roof snow load per square foot. The calculations are based on the Chocolate Gulch Ranger Station, as there are no stations in Hailey.

Today’s buildings in Hailey are constructed to withstand a minimum of 100 pounds per-square-foot snow load. Pre-1977 structures could have a roof system design where snow loads range from 40 to 80 pounds, depending on their age and quality of construction. Older flat-roofed structures are at greater risk, and it is strongly advised that those be shoveled when loads reach 60 pounds.

Hailey building official Jim Lynch said in a statement, “I am fairly concerned about exhaust and intake stacks for chimneys, fireplaces, water heaters and gas furnaces. If these are blocked, they can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.”

The weight of one inch of snow on a roof can vary from 3 pounds per square foot to 21 pounds, depending on how wet the snow is. Ice build-up can weigh even more — the Federal Emergency Management Agency states that one foot of ice weighs about 57 pounds per square foot.

Warning signs:

  • Listen for cracking, creaking or popping sounds
  • Check for bowing trusses or joists
  • Check for doors and windows that won’t open
  • Check for cracked or split structural members

Be aware of:

  • Ice dams
  • Roof obstructions
  • Snow drifts on the roof
  • Shape and slope of the roof
  • Thermal conditions of the building
  • Additional snow build-up in roof pitch valleys

The city of Hailey does not keep building plans for pre-1977 residences. If you don’t know your roof’s snow load capacity, contact an engineer to assist in determining it.

If you plan on shoveling your roof, be aware of gas meters and vents that could be impacted by falling snow — causing potential gas leaks. If you smell gas, call 911.

For more information, call the Community Development Department at 208-788-9815, ext. 27.

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