Many are beginning to ask: Is it time to shovel off my roof?

By Mike Taborski

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There is a rising concern among many residents in Plumas County regarding the recent accumulation of snow and if and when it’s time to consider having the snow removed from rooftops.

The county’s Building Department Director Chuck White said the current snow fall totals don’t represent an immediate concern regarding the snow load. He said the first storm was warmer and brought a heavier snow but the last storm was much lighter. He cautioned that if it warms up and we get another round of wet snow on top of what we already have, or rain, you will want to monitor its compaction and weight.

According to the county, structures built with a building permit are required to to be designed to meet the snow load for the area in which they were built. The document went on to say that only once since the winter of 1970, the winter of 1992-93, have snow accumulations in the county come to, or slightly exceeded, the required design snow load. The weight of accumulated snow/ice is critical in accessing the roof’s vulnerability.


Yesterday on the West Almanor Bulletin Facebook page the following post addressed the question for those in the Almanor area. It read: “A core sample was taken this morning of the current snowpack on the west shore, leading to the first snow load report of the season. The open sky, undisturbed snowpack was 35 inches deep and included both light and dense (icy) layers. When the numbers were crunched, the result was a snow load of (drum roll, please …) 46 pounds per square foot. Thankfully that leaves us a lot of margin for more before we have to think about roof shoveling.”

A comprehensive guide is available addressing the snow load weight requirements that vary in different areas throughout the county. It has detailed instructions on how to measure the actual pounds per square foot from the accumulated snow, along with other factors that should be considered when deciding when the snow should be removed. It is available from the Plumas County Building Department and can be found on this link to its website,