Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Saturday, February 05, 2011


The big story -- actually just about the only story -- on the local news last night in Connecticut was buildings collapsing. As far as I know, nobody has been seriously injured. They usually give you a clue when they're about to come down, such as walls cracking or loud popping noises. But two horses were killed in a barn collapse. Numerous businesses have been destroyed, schools and apartment buildings evacuated. An elementary school just over the border in Rhode Island did come down, fortunately nobody was inside. One town called out the national guard to get snow off the roof of the high school.

Naturally, people are getting anxious. All the chatter in the checkout line at the grocery store this morning was about where to buy roof rakes. Home Depot and Lowe's are sold out and can't get any. Typical houses, with their fairly steep roofs and not a whole lot of surface area, aren't likely to come down but I've seen a few old shacks along route 14 that are definitely sagging. There's probably some old person in there who can't do anything about it. Let's hope for the best.

As with flood, earthquake and volcanoes, people build with little regard for events they don't expect to happen in 100 years. That's not so wise, especially today when 100 year and even 500 year floods are starting to happen routinely. Now, just maybe, we'll have to expect that seasonal snowfalls never seen in recorded history will become commonplace. No doubt we can adjust, but this is just the beginning.

New Windham County post, for all you Bambi fans.


kathy a. said...

i don't know what to say about snow weight on the rooftops. there needs to be a special snow rake? who's supposed to climb up there and rake it off? i'm not of the snowy climes, but i assume that this is why so many in, say, northern idaho have steeped metal roofs designed to help the stuff slide off.

makes sense to call out the national guard when buildings are collapsing.

every big CA earthquake brings stronger building codes, and lots of effort toward shoring up various portions of the homestead. it's imperfect, but these aren't 100 year events necessarily. guess the weather-related things aren't, either.

Cervantes said...

We just aren't accustomed to this kind of snowpack here, and basically, nobody had ever heard that there could be a danger of buildings collapsing, or that they needed to get snow off their roofs.

A snow rake is just a cheap plastic blade with a 25 foot handle, but it does the job. In most cases, though, you can't get much done from the ground and yes, somebody does need to get up on that roof, or at least on a ladder. Most folks can't possibly deal with it themselves, so it would require hiring people, which not everybody can afford, obviously. I'm particularly thinking of old folks.

If we expected this, of course our houses would be designed differently, but we never did.