Are Green Buildings Creating Dangerous Icicles?
Large icicles form off the guttering of a building -- avoid walking under them, serious injuries have been reported as the cold weather begins to thaw.
A snow-covered statue of George Cohen looks over Times Square on Feb. 13. A winter storm dumped up to 10 inches of snow in New York City.
Snow falls in front of the U.S. Capitol building on Feb. 13, 2014 in Washington, D.C.
A person walks two kids to school during the snowstorm in New York City on Feb. 13. Despite official calls to otherwise stay at home, city schools remained open during the storm.
A worker clears snow from a sidewalk in Chevy Chase, Md., in the early hours of Feb. 13, 2014.
As the latest winter storm blasts the East Coast of the U.S., millions of people are facing another day of freezing conditions that have triggered school and government office closures and thousands of cancelled flights. Seen here, the U.S. aircraft carrier Intrepid is surrounded by floating ice on the Hudson River in New York.
A family surveys downed trees on their street, the results of the rare winter ice storm that swept across the South on Feb. 12, 2014 in Summerville, S.C.
Big, dirty piles of snow and ice, have collected throughout numerous snow storms this season, on the street in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York. Because of the cold weather the ice and snow has not melted and the city has left these deposits.
Atlanta roads prepare for the onslaught of a significant winter storm. The National Weather Service said, "The ice accumulations remain mind-boggling, if not historical."
Icicles form on a trash can as freezing rain falls in Augusta, Ga., on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. Atlanta has a half-inch of ice and South Carolina is expecting up to an inch of ice by Thursday night.
The ice storm brought downtown Atlanta, Georgia, to a standstill as the temperatures continued to drop.
A GOES Satellite image shows the huge winter storm in the Southeastern United States. The storm will get colder as it moves slowly up the coast, dumping up to 10 inches of snow on Washington, D.C., and a foot on New York City.
The meat case at a local Greenville, Ga., supermarket is completely bare as residents on Tuesday braced for the impending storm.
In Chicago, people protected themselves from icicles falling off the 100-story John Hancock Center with their backpacks and purses. In New York, one man was struck in the face by a chunk of ice as he was trying to warn others to stay away; his cuts required 80 stitches.
And as a thaw finally sets in, experts expect the problem of ice falling off skyscrapers to get worse, The Associated Press reports.
“The snow starts to melt and the liquid drips off and makes bigger and bigger icicles, or chunks of ice that break off skyscrapers,” Joey Picca, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in New York, told The AP. “If you see ice hanging from a building, find another route. Don’t walk under hanging ice.”
Energy efficient buildings and skyscrapers can make the conditions riper for more, and larger, icicles.
“They keep more heat inside, which means the outside is getting colder and that allows more snow and ice to form,” engineer Roman Stangl, founder of the consulting firm Northern Microclimate in Cambridge, Ontario, told The AP.
Some architects are designing new buildings with icicles in mind, using darker colors to discourage icicles from forming, for example. In New York, a street close to 1 World Trade Center was closed to pedestrians and crews have been removing the ice.
“This happens all over the country, all over the world, in cold climates,” architect Chris Benedict said.