Each year I like to re-post my snow fence blog. If you’re like me and have a long driveway…it almost becomes a necessity to put one up, or you won’t get out. A blizzard watch has already been issued to our south for Tuesday and Wednesday, along with a winter storm watch for the Chippewa Valley…it’s time!
How can a snow fence help?
A properly placed snow fence can make all the difference between being snowed in (some folks may like this idea) and, smooth sailing down the driveway.
How they work:
As the snow and wind blow through the fence, the fence basically empties the air of snow before it reaches your driveway (or whatever feature you’re trying to keep the snow away from). Drifts that would normally fall on the roadway now form at the
location of the snow fence.
To be effective, snow fences must be properly designed and located with respect to the roadway in need of protection. Not all roadways will benefit from a snow fence.
A fence placed in the wrong location may not do an adequate job of protecting the road, and may even cause snow to accumulate on the roadway.
Any standard size fence will help stop drifting snow. However, the taller the fence – the more snow will be trapped. One row of eight-foot fence is recommended for maximum efficiency. Multiple rows of shorter fence can also be used. One eight-foot fence can trap as much snow as five rows of four-foot fence. Height should be sufficient to store blowing snow during an average to above average snowfall year.
Snow fence length determines the maximum amount of area that can be protected from blowing and drifting snow. Snow storage at the ends of a barrier is significantly less than near the center. It is recommended that the ends of the fence extend approximately 30 degrees beyond the desired protection limits to allow for wind variability. Fences should be set back from the edge of the roadway a distance of 35 times the height of the fence. For instance, if the snow fence is eight feet tall, it should be placed 280 feet back from the edge of the roadway. (8′ high x 35 = 280-foot set back)
The fence should be placed as parallel to the road and perpendicular to the prevailing wind direction as possible.
• Fences should contain 40 to 50 percent open space to be most effective.
• Horizontal gaps are the preferred design.
• A gap of six to eight inches is needed between the ground and the fence to reduce the tendency of fences to become buried in drifts, which reduces storage capacity.
Meteorologist LeAnn Lombardo