Video footage credit: Shayna Davis – Castle Mountain Homes Office Manager – Hungry workers getting a special delivery of pizza via the Gradall crane.
Snow has been falling regularly through the month of December and into January with higher than average snow accumulations. Measurements vary from four feet to over a hundred inches throughout Lowman and Garden Valley depending on elevations. This has causes some carports and other enclosures to cave in with the weight of the snow. The Garden Valley Market came close to a similar disaster as suddenly snow loads exceeded the roof weight limitations as rain fell on top of the snow.
Greg Simione, owner of GV Market made a statement: “We apologize again for the inconvenience [of being closed], but the roof was compromised due to the extreme amount of rain that added to the snow at the beginning of the week. We had to make a critical safety call on behalf of the public and our employees.” He added, “This happened very quickly once we had the rain on top of the snow. We could see that there was stress on beams inside the market.”
When the integrity of the roof started to come into question, people were called into action to help remove the snow off the Market complex which also includes the Mountain America Credit Union and the space that is utilized for a bi-monthly Flea Market. The roof is flat and is hidden by the building design. From the parking lot it is hard to see the accumulation of snow.
Rooftop Snow Measured in Tons: For two days a group of at least 37 people were organized by Castle Mountain Homes. A Gradall Crane supplied by Randy Wade was dug out of snow to assist in lifting needed materials onto the rooftop including a snow blower…. and pizza for the crews. It is estimated that the crew removed 300 tons (or 600,000 pounds) of snow over the whole complex.
Structure is Safe: Once the snow was removed, Simione made sure he got the thumbs up from a structural engineer that the building was safe. The beams were stressed but it was “safe to re-open” by 5:00pm Friday afternoon. Simione says, “We will get some repairs done in the course of the next few weeks and new equipment for the deli installed as planned.”
The Mountain America Credit Union on the opposite end of the complex also was dealing with frozen sewer pipes and had to be shut down last Thursday. Once some of the snow was removed from their roof and the septic pipes evaluated, they were able to open on Friday. The pipe will be dug out and repaired.
Avoiding this potential catastrophe is a reminder that snow loads can be heavier when it rains on top of the snow. Simione acknowledges that, “Even though the roof can withstand up to three feet of snow, it will be best to not let it go beyond one foot.” Hiring insured professionals to clear rooftops and walkways might be needed as the winter carries on, even at residential homes.
A Snow Watch has been issued: The future forecasts show the potential for more snow and/or rain depending on elevations. Check on neighbors and follow social media for weather updates. KXGV-LP, 98.5 FM radio in Garden Valley is an Emergency Broadcast station and can be listened to throughout most of Garden Valley and surround areas.
Simione says, “Thank you to the army of helpers showing up and to Castle Mountain Homes for spearheading the project and to Randy Wade for digging out his crane!”
Update: Scott Leslie, owner of Castle Mountain Homes, also thanks Paul Shepherd & Son Excavating for helping to remove the snow that was on the ground around the Market after the dig out.
Written by Janet Juroch – BCC Staff
Photos: Janet Juroch