Monday, 11 March 2013

Breaking a record

This has been a funny winter in many respects. It started early with loads of snow in December much of which melted around New Year. Since then we’ve had lots and lots of more snowfall. The cloudiest winter in 25 years has only recently given way to some dazzling sunshine.

What I find even more peculiar than the weather is the way how the snow packed on our rooftop has been behaving. We’ve had icicles before, quite impressive ones especially on the western side of the roof, but we never saw them grow as thick and long as this winter. The biggest ones were thicker than an arm and at least two metres in length hanging down to window level. And all this even though we had the roof replaced last summer (I wrote about that here) meaning there surely shouldn’t be any major heat leakages.

I’m starting to believe we’ve broken the icicle record not entirely because of the recent period of temperatures zigzagging above and below freezing point but also thanks to the new roofing. The new steel sheet roofing has a special coating making it much more slippery than the earlier roof of corrugated steel.  Moreover, the new roof with hidden screws allows snow to glide freely towards the gutters and snow guards. It also seems to absorb heat better thus speeding up melting. So what was melted by warmer temperatures during the days was frozen again during the cold nights creating the record-long icicles and the huge blocks of ice on the gutters.

On the old roof the fastening screws were visible causing snow to stick to the corrugated surface rather than slide down. This used to generate thick solid layers of ice on both sides of the roof. When the burden finally crashed down in large sheets of ice and packed snow – most often in the middle of the night accompanied by a terrible sound waking everybody up in horror – it would have been heavy enough to smash down anything within a few meters from the house wall (the below photo was taken through our living room window last winter).

I do prefer the present state of affairs with icicles. In fact, I’m a bit disappointed now that wintry weather has returned but the icicles have melted, first turning thin resembling a row of knife blades hanging from the gutter and then almost disappearing. According to meteorologists, so far our March has been as cold as it can get. Let’s hope we will not be breaking another record here.

PS. I guess this roof-related post will be safe from the Bangalore-based roofing company that had stolen the first photo of my earlier roofing story to the home page of their website, which was one of the reasons why I started watermarking my photos. When I asked them to replace it they fixed the problem by simply making it impossible for our ip address to access their site. I haven't bothered more about that but they sure know the IT tricks in India.


  1. Onneksi tämä on myös tilastollisesti pilvisin talvin vuosikausiin, sillä siltä se on myös tuntunut. En ole siis kuvitellut kaikkea.

    1. Minäkin olin kovin tyytyväinen, kun uutisoivat tämän. Sydäntalvi kun tuntui tällä kertaa entisiäkin pahemmalta. Ehkä puhti kohta palailee...