By Lindsey Seavert, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There aren’t enough contractors in the state to deal with the ice dam problems that will hit Minnesotans this weekend.

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That’s according to the Matt Villella, President of the Gopher Company/Minnesota Ice Dam Removal companies, who is worried about massive leaks with the weekend warm up above freezing temperatures.

“This will be the worst it’s even been, probably on record,” said Villella. “It’s a situation where this weekend, there is going to be so many calls coming in, no one is going to be able to handle it.”

He says his crews will be working around the clock, and it won’t be enough. He’s anticipating at least 300-400 calls a day this weekend, which adds up to three calls a minute, and a likely 5-7 day backlog of service.

Eighty-seven-year-old Ann Inveen paid a little extra for Villella’s team to come fix her problem before the busy weekend.

Of all her decades in Minnesota, Inveen says this is a first. Her porch roof gave in to an ice dam. Crews climbed onto her roof with shovels and steamers to fix the problem. The demand for calls like this is keeping them busy until 2-3 a.m. these days.

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“I have never seen anything like this before. We had what you would call the perfect storm, a wet snow in November and it dropped 30 degrees in 6 hours,’ said Villella, which created all the ice. “We lump that in with another 50 inches of snow on top of it and the roof vents are getting plugged.”

He says the trapped ventilation creates heat, melts the snow and ice builds. The backup is frozen now, but when it melts, water will pool behind the ice dams, causing damage, leaking back into roofs and walls.

“I don’t know if there is enough contractors out there to even take care of the problem,” said Villella.
Even worse, ice dam companies can’t even get their hands on enough equipment. “The last machine we picked up we drove to Fairbault to pick up from assembly and the back log is three weeks.”

Villella says customers should call sooner than later, when a leak is too late. He says customers should look for licensed, bonded and insured companies, with average rates are typically $300 an hour and up.

“The cost of the ice dam removal is expensive, but it pales in comparison to the expense of water in the walls, mold, sheet rock so on and so forth,” said Villella.

Inveen’s problem is fixed, just in time for her 88th birthday.

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“This year was the first year anything went wrong,” she said, with a laugh. “This was just a mess. I don’t know what the world is coming to.”