Temperatures keep dropping. Snow keeps falling. The season of ice dams has arrived.
The trouble - especially with a snow-covered roof in subfreezing temperatures and a partially frozen federal government - is that more ice likely will build up as January heads into February. Eventually, water will start seeping into the House and Senate.
The result? Dislodged roof shingles (citizens), sagging gutters (workers), water-soaked insulation (social programs), stained ceilings (reputations), peeling paint (infrastructure), damaged plaster (debt) and eventually mold or structural damage to the White House.
Since our houses have developed record-breaking mammoth frozen outgrowths, it's imperative in this the new year - and the new Congress that came with it - that we resolve to end the ice dam and save this home we call the United States from more and more costly repairs.
There are right and wrong ways of dealing with ice dams, but first let's remember what causes and aggravates ice dams. They are not the result of roofing woes but the cause of them. The real culprit is leaking hot air (read tweets, accusations, etc.).
Due to inadequate sealing, heat from the interior (short tempers) gets into the attic and melts the underside of the snow on the roof. The melted snow water flows down until reaching a cold spot such as the eaves or soffit, where the water freezes ... into an immovable political ice dam.
Obviously, the best thing is to prevent ice dams, but what do you do when one has formed? Call the professionals. Don't take no for an answer. Tell representatives, senators and the executive branch to get out their tools of cooperation, coordination and communication.
When seeking to remove an ice dam, there also are some things you should not do:
• Do not install heating cables. President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi definitely have crossed and fused their wires.
• Do not pour hot water on the situation. The tit-for-tat exchange only exacerbates the problem.
• Do not attempt to remove ice with chippers. Such interference (blocking a venue for the State of the Union or canceling military planes service) can damage the components that make up a solid roof.
Please, let the thaw begin. We can't wait until spring.
Oh, and for information about genuine ice dams on your personal home, start with a visit to the University of Minnesota Extension Service website or the University of Wisconsin Extension Service website.
The shutdown hasn't hit those state offices ... yet.