MINNEAPOLIS - It's an image that most Minnesotans will never forget -- tons of snow tumbling to the turf from a shredded Metrodome roof.
It happened around 5 a.m. on December 12, 2010 when the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome roof collapsed under the weight of a heavy snow storm that dropped more than 16 inches of snow on the Twin Cities.
On the second anniversary of the collapse, officials at the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) are expressing confidence that it will never happen again. They point to last weekend, when the new Teflon roof stood up to a near-record December snowstorm.
"As with all storms, we watched this weekend storm carefully. The MSFA operations staff took specific steps before and after the game," commented Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen of the Minnesota's Sports Facilities Authority, the owner and operator of the Dome. "We were confident the roof would be able to handle the weather."
The authority points out that the new roof has several updated features that make it more durable. First and foremost they say the new roof has only one layer of the fabric roof in the center and two on the peripheries which allows the heat to reach the top layer faster, which in turn, melts snow faster.
A heavier fabric was used on the current roof, allowing the profile of the 106 roof tiles, or "pillows" to be lower. The lower profile of the roof allows wind to move more efficiently over the roof and the valleys between pillows are not as deep as the original roof, preventing snow build up.
The experience of the dome collapse has also taught the facilities crew to take preemptive action in the event of a significant snow.
"Saturday night as the snow started, we turned up the heat to melt the snow and increased the air pressure inside making the roof surface harder," said Steve Maki, Director of Facilities and Engineering for the MSFA. "Before the game started we turned down the heat, limited the number of entrances to keep the warm air inside and turned the heat back up after the game was over. The replacement roof is engineered differently, making it more efficient."
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