The purpose of the “Ground Snow Load Website” is to provide users with site-specific ground snow loads that are used in the determination of design snow loads for buildings and other structures. On this website, users can obtain ground snow loads compatible with ASCE 7-95 through ASCE 7-10. It is assumed that the users of this site have competency to understand how to calculate and apply design snow loads to structural models of buildings or other structures.
The reason this utility is needed is that the spatial resolution of the ground snow load map that is printed in ASCE 7 may not be sufficient to determine a site-specific ground snow load. There are no reference cities or towns on the ASCE 7 ground snow load map and while county boundaries are shown, the resolution is affected when the map is expanded large enough to distinguish the boundaries and approximate the city locations.
To find the ground snow load for a specific site, select one of the following methods:
- Click the radio button for decimal and enter latitude and longitude in the spaces in decimal form and select “Get Ground Snow Load”; or
- Click the radio button for address and enter the desired address and select “Get Ground Snow Load”; or
- Click the radio button for decimal, find the site on the map given at the bottom of the webpage and the latitude and longitude will be displayed in decimals. Copy these values into the Decimal boxes near the top of the page and select “Get Ground Snow Load”; or
- If your site is in Alaska, click the radio button for Alaska and select “Get Ground Snow Load”. A table showing ground snow loads for preselected cities will be shown.
Ground snow loads are site-specific for the location and may be dependent upon the elevation of the site. Users are cautioned to provide the most accurate location for the building site by specifying either the known street address, city and state or the latitude and longitude to at least five (5) decimal places. If only the name of the city/state or ZIP code is provided, the website will provide ground snow load information for the centroid of the city or ZIP code and thus could either over or underestimate the actual design ground snow load for the site. An underestimation of ground snow load could result is a design that does not meet the requirements for minimum snow design loads for the building under consideration.