Beware: More Danger From Above

church angles
Photo by PoPville flickr user rosiedawn

“Dear PoP,

With all the snow we have had, and more on the way, you may want to do an article about the dangers of snow / ice falling onto your head from above. We live in a Victorian-style rowhouse on capital hill with no awning, and most of the houses around us are similar. During this storm, as well as the last bad one, I was struck on the head by falling snow / ice that was jarred loose by the opening and closing of my front door. The sloping roof seems to lend itself to the accumulation of overhanging ice and snow with sharp icicles. This afternoon, we heard a huge crash as the ice and snow from next door that was hanging right above the entrance door fell crashing down onto the porch. It was about 60 – 80 pounds of snow and ice hanging 8-10 inches over the roofline, complete with razor-sharp icicles. A little melt from the sun and it let go catastrophically. Long time residents are aware of the danger, but newbies may not be. The solution? Open the tops of your upstairs windows while standing on the sill, and reach up with a broom to knock the dangerous overhanging snow and ice off the roofline. Please post this warning, as, if someone had been standing on the porch next door when the avalanche occurred, they could have been seriously hurt or even killed!”


5 Comment

  • Your neighbor should get a substantial fine for not removing that ice before it fell!


  • this is good information. but yes, look closely for any signs that suggest that you could be breaking the law before you get a $250 fine. you never know.

  • In Wisconsin (and maybe other places) we call those icicles widow makers. When I was there over Christmas, my mom was explaining this to my aunt, and she decided to dub them widow killers instead. Either way, they can be dangerous.

  • This is also a problem with commercial buildings. When I was walking to work yesterday (yes, I went to work), a huge icicle came crashing down ahead of me from the top of a commercial building. This served as my yearly reminder to walk away from the sides of buildings during the winter.

  • Every year in Chicago there seem to be at least a few people killed by ice falling from tall buildings. There are fairly useless warning signs posted saying “beware of falling ice and snow”, as if you might look up as you walk around downtown and jump out of the way!

    Hopefully DC’s shorter buildings will mean that doesn’t happen here, but being aware can’t hurt. Good tip about removing icicles!

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