What happens when a house is covered with snow to the rooftop?

What happens when a house is covered with snow to the rooftop? We've seen all over the country how snow can bury a car and get half way up a house. But we dig and plow and shovel and eventually spring comes and the snow melts. But what happens in the far north, where the snow never melts. Eventually the homes will just vanish under the snow, and even if it's cleared away, the home will eventually be deep in a hole under the piles of snow, and I know all too well how drifting fills in holes. Personally I dont see how anyone could live in a place like that, but some do.
So what do they do? Do they just keep building more levels higher on their houses, where the original house eventually becomes a sub-sub-sub-basement, and you have to go down 12 flights of steps to get down there? Looking outside my door today, I got to thinking what would happen if this snow and ice never melted and just kept piling up..... I'd rather move south... FAR SOUTH..... There's no way in hell that I'd move further north.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Feb 2, 6:54 pm, snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

Something like that. I'm an East Coaster, so we don't usually get snow like that, but when I was skiing at Squaw Valley the A-frame house we were staying at was partially buried. Deep snow country houses need strong roofs. The snow load can be a couple of hundred pounds per square foot. The street was perfectly cleared, there was a 6' high wall of snow running along both sides of the street - like a mini-canyon, and there were steps carved into the snow so you could climb up to the top of the snow-pack. The house was accessed by another set of steps carved in that brought you down to the house entrance level, which was a couple or few feet above the actual soil grade. Very cool.
The place was beautiful, the temperatures mild, the snow was dry. Not at all like the wet heavy much we get around NY. Here it might start out light and fluffy, but in short order it's a dense, heavy mess.
R
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 2/2/2011 6:54 PM, snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

Well, actually- at the south pole, they build buildings on pilings that are designed to be jacked up and have segments added to them. Not too many people build permanent structures on glaciers and ice pack, which is the only place where the problem arises. Human settlements of the non-migratory kind stay on the warm side of the permanent snow cover boundary. But yeah, they do have to abandon structures at times. Sorta like in the desert.
--
aem sends...

Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Google "timberline lodge in snow pic". Timberline Lodge was built during the CCC days, IIRC. It is in the shadow of Mt. Hood, Oregon. It is three stories high, and there are some pictures around of it up to its eaves in snow.
I lived in Stibnite, Idaho, when I was very young. My dad would take 2 x 4's and put on the insides of the windows to keep the windows from coming in. There was a lot next door where all the kids would make ice caves, and then the grownups got involved, and framed tunnels BEFORE it snowed so it would be safer.
IIRC, the snow was a decent insulator, taking a lot of the wind off the house. I went out the back door once, and slammed the screen. By the time I hit the stairs, all the snow and ice from the roof hit me. They took me to the hospital, and I have a lovely scar on my arm from a sharp piece of ice.
It was cold here today, by our standards. We went to Cedar City to do business, and it was 9 F. when we got there. By four in the afternoon, it was 12 F. It is supposed to be -5 F. tonight. Can't get near our cabin. May hire someone with a snowmobile in a couple of weeks to cart me up there. Never been up there in the deepest snow.
Steve
Heart surgery pending? Read up and prepare. Learn how to care for a friend. Download the book. http://cabgbypasssurgery.com
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 2 Feb 2011 17:11:00 -0800, "Steve B"

Snow is an excellent insulator. That's why natives at high latitudes build structures from snow. That's why winter mountain climbers build snow caves. That's why people engaging in snow sports outsides the confines of ski resorts are urged to have the ability to build a snow cave for emergencies.
Snow as insulation can hold temperatures inside somewhat above freezing -- a little melting actually helps to reinforce the cave with ice, and melting releases energy. And there's a big difference between 40F inside a snow cave and 0F outside.
Of course the wind protection is very important too.
Edward
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Edward Reid wrote:

Happens all the time in winter in Siberia. Dig a tunnel to get out and stay in for more warmth.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

Ask the Eskimos.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 02 Feb 2011 17:54:22 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

Your scenario implies that the snow accumulation patterns changed AFTER the house was built. If the snow had been accumulating like that previously, the house would have been built on top of it. The only exception would be ice sheets or ice caps where the melting is occurring at the bottom of the sheet. In this case the snow is melting -- the system is in equilibrium -- but the melting and accumulation are occurring in different places. Building on top of ice sheets is only done for exploratory and scientific purposes.
In practice there are very few inhabited places where the snow never melts. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is mostly clear of snow and ice in the summer. So are the shores of Hudson Bay and Great Slave Lake. In places like Greenland and Ellesmere Island, which are mostly covered by permanent ice sheets/caps, the only permanent habitation is along the shore, which is free of ice in the summer. (According to WP, in 2006 the population of Ellesmere Island was 146.) Of course some of these areas are frozen below ground (permafrost), but that doesn't accumulate over the roof.
Many very high latitude areas actually receive very little precipitation -- they are deserts -- further reducing the accumulation.
Edward
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Feb 2, 3:54 pm, snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

People don't build houses, or even live (except for research stations), where the snow never melts. There are a few research stations built in such places and the engineering to keep the buildings above the snow is quite involved. Build on pilings and jack up occasionally or the other option, just abandon the building and build another one.
I spent one winter in a quonset hut on St. Lawrence Isle. Almost a daily task to keep an escape ramp cleared of snow so we could get out and up on top. Hut was pretty well buried to the roof all winter.
Harry K
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.