Region 8 roofs can't sustain weight of winter weather

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Roofs and awnings have collapsed all over Region 8 since Sunday night. As we found out, Arkansas buildings just aren't made to sustain that much weight.

"Design codes in Arkansas are only rated for 10 lbs per square foot for snow load," Terry Adams, Chief Building Inspector for the City of Jonesboro said Wednesday.

Region 8 didn't receive snow though. Adams explained that if you compact that square foot of snow down into sleet, 10 pounds caps out at just 2.1 inches and we received quite a bite more than that.

"A building would really have to be designed at about 35 pounds per square foot in order to sustain that weight that's sitting above it," Adams said.

We found a chunk of ice in our parking lot that was just slightly over one square foot and weighed 12 pounds, that's over what NEA buildings can hold.

Adams said the good news for us was the gap in winter storms.

"If we had not seen the snow melt from the last round of snow that we had, and this would have piled on top of it, I think we would have seen a real significant amount of damage to our commercial buildings, especially the flat decks in the city."

That doesn't mean local businesses were in the clear. The roof of Bob's Carpet in Jonesboro caved in. Adams said it's a total loss.

"They'll be took down to the slab, completely revamped."

He said buildings with pitches in the roofs aren't safe from the weight either.

"They'll maintain the same weight load as a flat roof it's just except it's just spread out a little bit further in area."

Adams advised people to look out for sagging in the roof or the walls bowing out.

As things continue to warm up, watch for that ice sliding off the roof.

"Because you take the weight of this ice coming off of the house, it's going to be not only heavy but it's gonna be sharp so they want to be really cautious about walking around their houses, their buildings."

Adams said if you are concerned about the roofs of your property, give the City Inspections Department a call at 870-336-7194.

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