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Re: 25% snow load is Conservative

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Please forgive my ignorance (before you mountain dwellers jump on me), but,
being both a young engineer and someone who has lived his whole life in the
southeastern US (where 1 inch of snow shuts down a city), I would like to
know where snow loads like these can occur.  400 psf is like 6-1/2 feet of
WATER.  What are the depths and densities of snow that can produce loads of
this magnitude?  Where do they occur?

Dan Vines, EIT

-----Original Message-----
From: BVeit <BVeit(--nospam--at)>
To: seaoc(--nospam--at) <seaoc(--nospam--at)>
Date: Thursday, April 16, 1998 2:01 PM
Subject: 25% snow load is Conservative

>I know not many people deal with lateral forces due to large snow loads,
>those of who do might find this interesting.
>You can imagine the enormous lateral loads if you were to count even part
of a
>400psf snow load toward seismic.
>Compounding this, the code is unclear on how much snow load to count toward
>seismic in heavy snow country.  It says, at the discretion of the building
>official, the amount of snow counted toward seismic may be reduced to 25%.
>Some counties have chosen to go big, such as Placer Co @ 1/3rd and Amador
>(kirkwood) @ 1/2!  In addition, the snow loads in these areas are routinely
>above 300 psf.
>As someone has said previously (Lew Midlam?) Where are the bodies?
>A recent article in ICBO Bld. Standards, Mar-April '98, clearly, rationally
>articulates why 25% of snow is CONSERVATIVE.  It's all Stats 101.
>So if there are any code authors out there, how about addressing this in
>Brian Veit, P.E.