Rising temperatures, melting snow brings new set of problems - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Rising temperatures, melting snow brings new set of problems

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An ice dam built up in a gutter. An ice dam built up in a gutter.
Kevin Wharton Kevin Wharton
Dennis Thomasson Dennis Thomasson

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – As the temperatures move above freezing and what once fell as snow now comes as rain, our next challenge could be safely getting rid of all that water.

If you're a homeowner, the winter trouble for your roof starts with uneven temperatures.

"Heat released from that attic insulation will warm the shingles along with the sun," said Kevin Wharton, a remodeling specialist with Paul Davis Restorations of Louisville. "That causes that snow or ice to melt and start to run down the shingles. The water literally has nowhere to go."

As the water refreezes when it reaches your eaves and gutters ice dams are formed. The dams push the melting snow back under your shingles and into your walls.

"Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot you can do for it once you have it," Wharton said.

Northern states have companies that dissolve the ice dams with steam heat, but those companies don't exist here. Other suppliers will wire your gutters and downspouts with heating cables, but they aren't found often here in the Mid South. One thing is certain - getting rid of ice dams is no project for the do-it-yourselfer.

"You'll do more damage to your roof if you try to chip it out of the shingles," said. Wharton. "And gutters; you've got hundreds of pounds of ice. There's no way I can take that gutter down without destroying it."

Instead, Wharton preaches proactive steps, like laying down an ice and water shield.

"It's a rubberized membrane that comes in sheets," Wharton said. "A second barrier that will shed the water on down the roof and into the gutter system and it won't leak into the house."

Such barriers will add at least $1,500 to the price of a replacement roof, but Wharton pointed out that is nearly the same amount as your home insurance deductible and he said prevention's cheaper than repair.

The Metropolitan Sewer District shares that sentiment. Monday, MSD issued an Overflow Advisory, warning that rain may be causing sewage to back up above ground, or in drainage ditches, or in nearby streams.

"We are moving some equipment into key areas, but we're in pretty good shape right now," said Dennis Thomasson, MSD emergency operations director. "We don't expect this event to cause any significant river issues. The (Ohio) River is expected to crest Thursday morning at 27 feet. That's significantly below flood stage."

A prolonged rain, without any refreezing, could help wash away the ice chunks that have blocked many drain grates on streets throughout Kentuckiana. However, Wharton said a refreeze compounds the trouble and Thomasson would like you to take action.

"We'd like our customers to clear any debris that might be blocking a catch basin right now," said Thomasson. "We can't get rid of the water until it gets into the system."

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