Hurricane force winds and flooding rains can turn trees into crushing giants to our homes and property. The twisting winds of even an EF1 tornado can easily transform our lovely oaks and maples into destructive monsters, as we witnessed during two severe weather events last spring in the Commonwealth.
On April 15, tornadoes touched down in Lynchburg and surrounding areas leaving significant damage. Downed trees pulled down power lines, closed roads, and cause damage to businesses and homes.
In March 2017, two tornadoes ripped 120-mph wind gusts across Suffolk, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach damaging more than 100 homes and nearly destroying a local church.
Video courtesy of The Virginian Pilot
The following month, a day of severe storms hammered much of the Commonwealth. Several tornadoes touched down right here in Northern Neck. It was as if our town’s ancient trees transformed into involuntary wooden giants pulling down power lines, closing roads and causing other expensive damage to the area.
You get the picture! And now the peak of the 2018 hurricane season is upon us. Virginia was named by PropertyCasuality360.com as a top 10 state at risk for significant hurricane damage this year with an estimated 409,000 homes at risk.
Justin, our NNINS home claims expert, says there's not a whole lot you can do to stop the powerful force of a tornado or hurricane or the excessive rains that saturate the ground causing heavy trees to topple. But you may be able to minimize damage to your home and property, and your neighbor's, by taking care of the trees in your own yard.
Look for 6 basic warning signs that you’ve got a potentially dangerous tree:
- Mushrooms growing around roots
- Rain water pooling around tree base
- Leaning with cracked or buckling soil or exposed roots on the opposite side
- Hollow pockets, cavities or decay
- Signs of illness: lack of foliage or insects like carpenter ants at the base of the tree
- Signs of damage: exposed roots, peeling bark, deep cracks, partially detached or suspended limbs or stem tops
If a tree is clearly dead or dying, don't put off removing it or having it professionally removed. Can you spot the tree in this homeowner's yard that poses a falling risk and needs to come down?
If you're still in doubt, have the tree professionally inspected. A certified tree expert is trained to discover signs of weakness or disease and to make recommendations if the tree is sick or injured. They can also give you the best trimming tips for your trees. Justin recommends removing any branches that are hanging over your roof or close to your home.
It’s clear destructive weather is getting more frequent and downright expensive for Virginians. While you may not be able to control the next round of severe weather that comes through, you might be able to prevent damage to your home, property and your neighborhood. Keeping your trees healthy and taking care of the ones that are not, are a great start!