Orchard Park Sees 3 Feet — How Much Does That Weigh? – NBC New York

It’s one thing to say it snowed more than 3 feet. It’s another when you think about how much that weighs.

Upstate New York, especially Buffalo and Watertown, is getting hammered by a potentially historic winter storm dumping more than 3 feet on spots — and barely anything on others a few miles away. How does that work?

Well, that’s lake-effect snow for you. Learn how it forms and more about that weather phenomenon here.

The weight element of it, though, is easy to underestimate — and that’s a risk that homeowners and snow shovelers everywhere don’t want to take. Simply put, that kind of snow weighs a ton — 11 tons, actually, for 3 feet of fresh snow.

Old snow is even heavier. We crunched some numbers using estimates of snow weights and vehicles from various sources. Check out the equivalents of the average weight of a foot and more of snow (and old snow) on your roof.

  • Average weight of 12″ of fresh snow on a roof: 7,000 pounds = 2 compact SUVs parked on the roof
  • Average weight of 24″ of fresh snow on a roof: 15,000 pounds = 4 compact SUVs parked on the roof
  • Average weight of 36″ of fresh snow on a roof: 22,000 pounds = 6 compact SUVs parked on the roof
  • Average weight of 48″ of fresh snow on a roof: 30,000 pounds = 9 compact SUVs parked on the roof


It gets downright scary when we start talking about older or settled snow. Using the same sources as for fresh snow:

  • Average weight of 12″ of older snow on a roof: 24,000 pounds = 7 compact SUVs parked on the roof
  • Average weight of 24″ of older snow on a roof: 48,000 pounds = 14 compact SUVs parked on the roof
  • Average weight of 36″ of older snow on a roof: 72,000 pounds = 21 compact SUVs parked on the roof
  • Average weight of 48″ of older snow on a roof: 96,000 pounds = 27 compact SUVs parked on the roof

The National Weather Service expects snow to continue falling in the Buffalo area through Sunday.

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