Office of Risk Management Risk Alert

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning in effect from 10:00 pm this evening through 1:00 am Tuesday for areas of Massachusetts north of the Connecticut and Rhode Island border. Heavy accumulations are expected for much of the region. Many roofs will already have snow accumulation from previous storms; therefore, the additional snowfall may create hazardous roof conditions.  

Snow accumulation of 12-18 inches is expected through late Monday night. A localized band of 18-24 inches of snow is possible near the Boston to Bedford to Beverly and Lawrence corridors through late Monday night.


  • Hazardous driving conditions beginning late tonight  
  • Blowing and drifting snow likely by Monday along the coast, yielding poor visibility  
  • Winds Northeast 5-15 MPH with gusts up to 30 MPH  
  • Possibility of roof damage due to accumulation of snow  

Roof Safety  

  • If not cleared off, snow accumulations will add weight and stress to structures and contribute to leaky roofs once the snow begins to thaw. Flat commercial roofs are most susceptible if they are not draining properly. Maintenance personnel should clear storm drains to minimize local flooding problems from this run-off. In many cases, roof ice dams can form, causing water build-up leading to interior damage. To minimize the risk of over-stressing a building roof due to accumulated or drifting snow, please take into consideration the following tips:  
  • If roof snow can be removed from the ground with the use of a snow rake (available at most hardware stores), do so. Use caution, as metal snow rakes conduct electricity if they come into contact with a power line.  
  • Try to avoid working from ladders, as ladder rungs tend to ice up. Snow and ice collect on boot soles and metal ladders.  
  • Flat roofs can be shoveled clear, but only if it is determined that the roof is safe to stand upon. Exercise care when on the roof to avoid potentially dangerous falls.  
  • Flat roof drainage systems should be kept clear to minimize the risk of excess roof ponding in the event of subsequent heavy rainfall or melting.  
  • Large icicles can form on roof overhangs, but do not necessarily mean ice damming is occurring. Icicles overhanging doorways and walkways can be dangerous and should be carefully removed.  
  • Because snow is heavy and roofs and other surfaces may be slippery, all of the above mentioned actions should only be performed by able-bodied adults. Protective headgear and eye protection is recommended.  

Power Outages  

  • When snow is wet and heavy, there is always a potential for downed power lines. Be prepared.  
  • Have an emergency kit, flashlights and battery-operated radio ready and accessible. Fully charge your cell phone, other electronic devices, and rechargeable batteries.  
  • Disconnect appliances and other electrical items that will automatically go on when service is restored. Power surges can cause significant mechanical damage.  
  • If you have a telephone system that requires electricity, such as a cordless phone or answering machine, plan for alternate communication. Have a standard telephone handset or fully-charged cell phone as a back up.  
  • Fill a bathtub or other large basin with water if you are on a well and a heavy storm is predicted. The water can be used for washing or flushing toilets.  

During a Power Outage  

  • If you have a refrigerator/freezer on premises, try not to open the doors. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold enough for a few hours. A freezer that is half full will hold for up to 24 hours; a full freezer will hold for 48 hours.  
  • Try not to use candles, but if you do use them, please use extra caution.  
  • If your heat goes out during a storm, close the door of rooms you do not need and dress in layers. If you need to use an alternate heating source such as a kerosene heater, fireplace or wood stove, be sure to have adequate ventilation to the outside. Without ventilation, carbon monoxide fumes can build up in your home and cause sickness or death. Never use a natural gas or propane stove or oven to heat your home.  
  • Disconnect appliances, equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. Power surges can damage equipment such as computers, and motors in appliances like the air conditioner, refrigerator, washer or heating system, when power comes back on.  
  • If the outage is prolonged and the weather is cold, open faucets to a steady drip so pipes do not freeze.  

After the Storm  

  • Be extra cautious if you go outside to inspect for damage after a storm. Downed or hanging electrical wires can be hidden by trees or debris, and could be live. Never attempt to touch or moved downed lines.  
  • Do not touch anything power lines are touching, such as tree branches or fences. Always assume a downed line is a live line. Call your utility company to report any outage-related problem.  
  • If you’re cleaning storm debris, don’t pile it in the road or near utilities poles and equipment. This will only impede emergency responders.  
  • If a power line falls on your car you are at risk of electrical shock - stay inside until a trained person removes the wire. If you are in danger and must leave the car, open a window and jump directly to the ground. Avoid contact with any metal part of the car.  
  • Don’t use charcoal to cook or provide heat indoors – it gives off deadly carbon monoxide gas. Make sure all combustible-fuel space heaters are used with proper ventilation, and never use your gas or propane oven as a source of heat.  

In the Event of Injury or Damage  

If you need immediate assistance with a claim, please call Kent Wilkins at 617-746-5743, or contact a disaster restoration specialist. For recommended specialists, please see our website: