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Snow Load, Water Content and Structure Failures

Contributed by James Bria, CompuWeather Sr. Forensic Meteorologist and Weather Expert

A large accumulation of snow can result in serious damage to structures and buildings depending on the water content of that snow. The water content of snow refers to the snow being heavy and wet vs. being light and fluffy. The water content of snow can vary greatly depending on a number of factors. CompuWeather meteorologists are well versed on determining all of these factors. There is a huge difference between twelve inches of dry and fluffy snow when compared to twelve inches of heavy wet snow.

The temperature at the time while the snow is occurring is the major determining factor of the water content of the snow. The closer that the temperature is to freezing, the heavier and wetter the snow will be. Snow can even occur when the temperature is above freezing yielding an even larger amount of water content.  If heavy wet snow was completely melted there would be more water present with that depth than the same depth of dry and fluffy snow at colder temperatures. The heavy wet snow can add enormous weight to structures and in some cases may be the cause or contribute to the structure failing or collapsing.

CompuWeather meteorologists are able to provide the volume of water that existed in any snow accumulation to help determine the root cause of a structure failure. Determining the exact amount of snow and the temperature at the time of the snow for the site of loss is the first step to determining the amount of water content that is involved in your case or claim. Let CompuWeather assist you with all of your winter cases and claims.

CLICK HERE to read an article on Winter Cases and Claims