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Snow brings winter worries

While Becker County dodged the big snowfall that was dumped on Fargo-Moorhead over the weekend, the county received enough to keep snowmobilers happy and plow drivers busy.

The snow made for a white Christmas, but it also makes for tough sledding for those with disabilities.

"Please shovel your sidewalks and curb cuts." That's the message from the Minnesota State Council on Disabilities.

Sidewalks and walkways are a lifeline for many people with disabilities and the senior community.

When walks are not cleared off, it makes life difficult for those trying to get to work, the grocery store or to medical appointments. It can even endanger their basic health and safety.

We know it's cold outside and shoveling can be miserable work, but do the right thing and keep your walks and curb cuts free of snow and ice. Don't force people with disabilities into the street.

The weekend snowfall provided a good opportunity for local government snowplow operators to get their feet wet again, so to speak.

The Detroit Lakes street department did an excellent job, both with plowing and later snow removal.

County and state snow removal efforts also went well, and the roadways are in good shape.

But with the first appreciable amount of snow comes winter problems.

Watch out for ice dams on your roof. They form when rising heat from inside the home pushes the roof surface temperature above 32 degrees, melting snow that runs down the roof until it collects on the colder overhang and gutters and becomes impermeable ice.

That ice dam grows and eventually may block new melt water and force it back up the roof, under shingles and through the roof, damaging ceilings and walls inside.

It's best to attack the problem early, and that can mean getting the snow off the lower portion of your roof.

Another worry with snow on the roof is that it will block vents, which can prevent toilets from flushing or cause moisture problems in attics that lead to rot and other issues.

If you decide to remove the snow yourself, be careful not to damage the shingles, and be extra careful up on the slippery rooftop in the wintertime.