Town’s roof-shoveling held off for warmer day

With midday temperatures in the single digits and a frightening wind chill factor, First Selectman Rudy Marconi said Friday that he’d called off the town’s usual roof-shoveling brigade, which puts workers on school roofs with snow shovels to reduce drifted snow.

“We shouldn’t subject anyone to that possibility if we don’t have to. Those activities have been suspended until warmer weather,” Marconi said.

Town Engineer Charles Fisher, who usually oversees the roof shoveling, had emailed Marconi saying he was going to start organizing the effort.

“I asked him not to do that today, if possible,” Marconi said.

Although accumulations from Thursday’s snowfall were about eight inches, with drifting from the high winds, it isn’t wet heavy snow.

“Yesterday’s snow was the first of any depth or accumulation, but it was a very light snow,” Marconi said.

So, roof shoveling can wait until somewhat warmer weather expected Monday or Tuesday.

“Yes, next week,” he said.

“It still justifies being removed,” Marconi said. “Once you have a three foot drift, if you have another wet snow that drifts as well, then that load is even more serious so it pays to get it done and stay ahead of  it.”

The roof shoveling is a preventative program the town has undertaken regularly when there are snow accumulations — particularly on flat-roofed school buildings.

“We do quite a few of the schools,” Marconi said. “There are sections where drifting can occur on most of our schools. And we became aware of snow loads five, six years ago, with the annex at East Ridge Middle School, when a custodian reported noticing a crack in a wall, interior wall,”

Marconi said.

“Now, there was no danger in that situation, but after a structural analysis and discussion with structural engineers, a decision was made to every winter address all of our roofs in the event of drifting, and be sure that all the drains are open and clear for any melting.”

The snow-shoveling crews are a mix of town employees and contract workers, Marconi said, and vary in size depending on how much snow there is to shovel.

But Friday it seemed like day people should stay inside.

“Thank God for oil burners,” Marconi said.