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Good Question ‘Reply All’: Snow, Super Bowl Ads & Lake Ice

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Don from St. Anthony has four foot snow drifts on his roof, so he asked: Can too much snow cause a roof to collapse?

“It can, but it probably takes a lot more snow than we’ll ever see,” said Ruben Saltzman, an inspector with Structure Tech Home Inspections.

In southern Minnesota, the state required roofs to hold 35 pounds per square foot. In northern Minnesota, the requirement jumps to 42 pounds per square foot.

According to structural engineer Dave McDonald with Mattson, McDonald and Young, that would equal more than five to six feet of snow. While McDonald recommends shoveling a roof with that much snow as a precaution, both he and Saltzman say structurally sound roofs in Minnesota should be fine with even a higher-than-normal winter snowfall.

Alex from St. Michael asked: When did the tradition of Super Bowl commercials start?

The first Super Bowl was in 1967, but the ads didn’t start to heat up until the 1970s. One of the first memorable ones was Master Lock’s 1973 “Tough Under Fire” where a sharpshooter shoots at the lock and it still doesn’t open. In 1980, Coke introduced its “Mean Joe Green” commercial and, in 1984, Apple upped the ante in with its big-time production of its “1984” commercial.

Macalester professor of media studies Michael Griffin says it wasn’t until the late 1980s that people started watching the Super Bowl for the ads.

“Attention to individual certain ads fueled over time greater interest in what new ads came out the following year,” he said.

Brad from Maplewood wanted to know: Is there a point where lake ice doesn’t get any thicker?

According to Anders Noren, curator with the University of Minnesota Limnological Research Center, there are no limits. He points to lakes in Siberia that have eight feet of ice and lakes in Antarctica that have hundreds of feet of ice. Noren says the ice does grow more slowly as it gets thicker due to increased insulation of the water from the air.

In Minnesota, most lakes will only grow up to one to five feet of ice and are limited by the length of the winter season.

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