March 5, 2020
Everybody loves a tree.
Trees are essential to our planet and humanity. They provide oxygen and canopies of shade while scrubbing our air of pollution, reduce flooding and provide beauty to our neighborhoods.
Joyce Kilmer’s poem Trees is considered the most quoted poem in American history as he declares “I shall never see, A poem lovely as a tree.”
Humans are the stewards of the trees. Arborists, tree trimmers and utility workers work hard every day using specialized tree tools to care for trees and often the power lines that coexist with them.
But like many of nature’s wonders, trees can also wreak damage when Mother Nature decides to remind us of her power.
Here’s a sampling of stories with video where storms and downed trees proved troublesome, and in many cases, disastrous.
Tree knocks out power to 4,000 Seattle residents
On Aug. 16, 2019, more than 4,000 Seattle residents woke up to no power after a large deciduous tree fell across three power lines. Seattle City Light crews responded and restored power to almost everyone by 2:30 p.m.
Here’s a cool video about Seattle City Light’s power line clearance program.
Giant Tree Crushes A House
A powerful storm swept through northwest Oregon in February 2014, bringing down trees and knocking out power for thousands. Wilsonville resident Jane Gerard was asleep in her bedroom at 4:30 a.m. when a redwood crashed through her house and into her bedroom covering her in debris. Gerard managed to climb out and suffered only minor injuries.
Supercell Thunderstorm Ravages Kansas
A strong surface low-pressure system ravaged southern Kansas on Monday, May 10th, 2010, resulting in supercell thunderstorms, damaging winds tornadoes and hail that measured grapefruit size. The storm caused severe damage to buildings, utility poles, vehicles and hundreds of trees.
Here’s a video of utility workers in Belleville, Kansas using two bucket trucks to remove fallen trees and branches from a utility pole after the storm.
Hurricane Sandy Transformer Explosion Caught On Video
In 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, causing nearly $65 billion in damage, affecting 24 states, but none more than New Jersey and New York. The storm knocked out power in both states and left many people feeling helpless as they watched trees come down on power lines. In Cliffside Park, New Jersey, one resident captured a tree falling on a power line and the subsequent explosion. There is a curse word (understandable) at minute :44 in the video below, so you might want to turn the volume down if sensitive ears are in the area.
These videos demonstrate the damage that can be caused by trees falling on power lines.
Luckily we have utility arborists who manage trees along utility rights-of-way and prevent these types of ocurrences during normal circumstances. They are often one of the first responders when a tree does fall and work to help make the situation safe and get the power back on.