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Snowmelt can damage property. Here's how to be prepared - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Snowmelt can damage property. Here's how to be prepared

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MISSOULA - Property owners should stay on top of potential threats to prevent damage with this week’s warming trend already melting some of the snowpack around Missoula.

Snow and ice are packed on Missoula’s streets and sidewalks, and flooding can become a concern as the warming trend continues this week. Experts say there are some ways to send the melting snow away from your house.

Brugh Landscaping, LLC snowpack restoration General Manager Kris Schllock says that there some key ways to protect your property.

“The first is to make sure that your gutters and downspouts are not frozen up with ice, and getting that snow that’s melting on the top of your house away from your home,” Schllock said.

He said to shovel snow away from the sides of the structure and pay attention to water that could get into window wells. Make sure any pumps used to remove unwanted water are functioning well.

Another seasonal melting issue happens when ice builds up on the roof of your home.

“That ice dam prevents any further melting from occurring, it blocks water from shedding off of the home. It backs up, and what ultimately happens is water will come in underneath the shingles as it backs up,” Schllock said.

He says there are three ways to break up that ice dam.

  • Chiseling, which can cause damage to the roof. 
  • Using a chemical snowmelt product. 
  • Melting the ice with steam or hot water.

If you are moving snow, make sure it is not in the way.

“You gotta push it places where it is not going to be in the way. Also in the way, you know, you can’t cover up someone’s storm drains. You can’t cover up someone’s mailbox, fire hydrants,” said Kevin Lalum, foreman at Brugh Landscaping.

The City of Missoula Street Maintenance Division is responsible for keeping over 7,000 storm drains clear year-round. They use a priority list to address the ones that can cause the most problems if blocked, according to Brian Hensel, superintendent of the division.

“We just continue to address water and pooling as they happen as best we can, and try and get to everything. We’ll get as many as we can, get them open,” Hensel said.

He says leaves and debris can also block the storm drains and cause flooding, even in the winter.

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