Residents of Anchorage are used to cold winters, but this year they are facing heavy snowfall and are warning to clear the roofs of their homes to prevent them from collapsing.
Tue 30 Jan 2024 13:47, UK
An “epidemic of ice” has blanketed a town in Alaska, causing roofs to collapse on commercial buildings — and officials are urging residents to get out their shovels to avoid a similar fate at home.
With a population of just under 300,000, Anchorage is no stranger to cold winters. But this time, the city was already covered in 100 inches (2.5 m) of snow — earlier than at any other time in its history.
Even winter-savvy Anchorage residents are tired of snowy streets and sidewalks, constant shoveling, and six days of pandemic-era remote learning.
“It's pathetic,” said Tamera Flores, a schoolteacher who was clearing her driveway as the pile of snow rose above her head. “It's an epidemic of snow.”
Following last year's heavy snowfall, this year is on track to break the all-time snowfall record of 134.5 inches (3.4 m).
The roofs of three commercial buildings have so far collapsed due to heavy snow.
Last year, one person died in a gym when the roof of 16 buildings collapsed.
Officials reported snow loads of more than 30 pounds per square foot (146 kilograms per square meter).
“That's a lot of weight,” the notice said.
An example of a house with a roof area of about 1,500 square feet (139 square meters) and a snow load of 30 pounds per square foot (146 kg per square meter) said it would support about 45,000 pounds (20,411 kg). “About 8 full size light duty pickup trucks”.
However, despite the concerns, some fun has inevitably come from the big snow.
An Anchorage homeowner built a giant six-foot-tall snowman — and named it “Snowzilla.”
The dominant mother wins Fat Bear Week every year
Landslides collapse Alaska homes
“This winter is definitely tough, but we Alaskans are definitely built differently,” said resident Damon Fitz as he drove down the driveway at his home.
“We can handle 100 inches of snow and still get to work on time,” he said. “We can put up with a lot.”