1. Nautical. a drain at the edge of a deck exposed to the weather, for allowing accumulated water to drain away into the sea or into the bilges. Compare freeing port.
2. a drain, closed by one or two flaps, for allowing water from the sprinkler system of a factory or the like to run off a floor of the building to the exterior.
3. any opening in the side of a building, as in a parapet, for draining off rain water.
In this case, the third definition is the most descriptive. The scupper is the box up at the top of the wall, right by the roof. Ideally, the scupper and its adjoining drainpipe force the water away from the building so it doesn't end up pooling on the roof. It helps avoid undue wear and tear to the roof and is designed to help avoid leaks.
Did you notice the word "ideally" a couple of sentences back? Sometimes reality raises it's ugly head and things don't work so smoothly. They become "less than ideal". Like if the scupper gets all full of ice from the freezing and thawing and freezing again so that the water can't get down the drainpipe.
Then the ice overflows and sticks to the masonry.
Then when it starts melting, it can leak into the building. Sometimes it gets so bad that the neighbor downstairs might call expressing concern about the water coming into her apartment. She might think it was an overflowing toilet. Or maybe a radiator problem.
But no, it was just the scupper and drainpipe. And water being water, it doesn't matter what the source. All the rooms in a vertical line from the scupper have water damage. Ours isn't as bad as some of the others.
But there is still going to be a bunch of wall and ceiling repair done. And we don't have that in the budget.
Thank goodness it's in the extra bedroom and we aren't expecting a houseful of holiday guests.
How's that for finding a silver lining?