Boston's heavy snow can require a perilous task: shoveling off the roof

Massachusetts' heavy snow is collapsing roofs, and more snow is on the way

Richard Webber spent Monday shoveling snow off his roof in the middle of a snowstorm.

That’s what this winter has been like, especially in the Boston area.

Webber’s home in Norwell, Mass., has a pitched roof, which looks like an A-frame and should make snow slide to the ground. But that doesn’t always happen.

So he climbed out a window and went onto the roof, where the snow was up to his waist – about 4 feet deep, he estimated – and tried to clear the roof.

"It was still snowing while I was doing it," said Webber, 47. "I was fighting a losing battle."

But at least he may have gotten about 2 feet off, he said.

Snow, especially wet snow, is heavy. Elsewhere in Norwell, about 25 miles south of Boston, a deck collapsed from the weight, said Fire Capt. Ken Benting. No injuries were reported.

At least five roofs have collapsed under the weight of the snow in Massachusetts on Monday and Tuesday, the National Weather Service said.

This winter’s snowfall has been relentless. Since noon Saturday, nearly 24 inches have fallen in Boston, the weather service said.

The three-day storm closed schools for two days and stopped rail service for a day. At a Tuesday afternoon news conference, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said about 6 feet of snow had fallen in the city in the last two weeks, counting a blizzard that kicked off the latest onslaught.

“We’re doing everything we can to reach out and give help to everyone in the city of Boston that needs help,” he said. “We are a great city, we are a strong city, and I know that peple truly care about each other.”

Another 1 to 3 inches is expected Thursday and Friday, and the weather service is tracking a storm coming in over the weekend, said meteorologist Glenn Field of the weather service’s Boston office.

The huge amounts of snow have taken a toll on Boston’s finances.

Walsh said the city had already spent more than $30 million as it responded to the three storms that barreled through in the last two weeks. The year’s snow budget had been set at $18.5 million, based on a five-year average cost. Walsh said the city had submitted initial information about the blizzard of two weeks ago in hopes of getting aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"Because we’ve spent all the money in the budget doesn’t mean we’re going to stop plowing or stop snow removal,” he said. “Our top priority is making sure we remove the snow and continue plowing.”

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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times


6:10 p.m.: The story was updated throughout with details and background.

The story was originally published at 2:58 p.m.