The Finer Points of Shoveling Snow and Ice
OK! It seems crazy to be talking about ice dams and winter weather when our winter weather has been downright balmy. But the reality is that Saturday will be January and sooner or later we will be called upon to deal with actual winter weather. Here in Hampton Roads we get infrequent winter storms, but when they happen, the entire area is crippled with ice and snow. Of course, schools are closed and many work places as well. Meanwhile we need to take care of our own property. The first task is getting out, which means sweeping or shoveling snow from our front steps and sidewalks.
In Virginia Beach it is probably a good idea to have two different types of snow shovels: one for the light, fluffy snow we get and one for wet, deeper, heavier snow and ice. For the former, a snow shovel with a “D” shaped handle will be easiest to hold on to. The shovel itself should be a large curve that meets the ground so it can literally push the snow out of the way. If you angle the shovel when you are using it, you can direct the snow to the sides. For the latter, a heavy duty shovel that looks more like a garden shovel but with a straight front edge will help you lift the wet, yucky snow to throw it to the sides. This shovel is heavy duty enough to crack ice to facilitate removal.
Ice Dams Can Damage Your Property
What the heck is an ice dam? This occurs when snow falls on your roof and the warmth from inside your home melts the underneath layer which trickles down the roof and then refreezes as icicles on your gutters and eaves. This is the beginning of an ice dam. The more snow that melts, the more ice builds up. Once there is no place for the melted snow to go, it begins seeping in between the shingles of the roof and into the attic or down the interior walls. Eek!
How can you prevent this? The easy answer is to prevent snow from building up on your roof. Get a roof broom from your home store and shove the snow off. Be particularly careful not to fall or slip on the ice! Stand on a sturdy ladder and use the specialized broom, being careful not to rip up the shingles. Keep the icicles from building up in the gutters.
Will This Be The Year We Get Snow in Tidewater?
Now that I’ve gotten you prepared for handling a snow storm, we will probably escape winter altogether. But sooner or later, it WILL snow in Tidewater. Prepare yourself this week while you are out and about in January in your shorts ands t-shirts. Go to the home supply store and buy a proper snow shovel. Stock up on rock salt to melt the ice on your front steps. Then store those things in your garage or shed and forget about it until THE day when Jeff Lawson of channel 13 tells us the blizzard is on the way!
Editor’s Note: We originally published this article in January 2015. We have edited it for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.