Storms Push Roanoke Cleanup Crews Back, Work on Clearing Debris

Roanoke, VA - All of the area storms and high winds are keeping crews busy in Roanoke. Crews say they are busy just keeping debris away from right-a-ways.

At least three times since this month's low-scale derecho, crews working to clear debris from that storm have been diverted to clean up the mess of ensuing storms.

While crews have been able to open all roads, every time they settle in to really clean up the mess, another comes along.

"We do have a habit sometimes of running one storm into another because this time of year we get thunderstorms and this kind of thing on a regular basis," said Dan Henry.

Henry is Roanoke's urban forester and says there is a way to minimize trouble like this. He says the big thing is preventive maintenance. His crews try to hit every street, every 7-10 years, looking for weakened branches and trees that could be more susceptible to a wind event.

He says homeowners should hire a professional every five years or so.

"Regardless of what type of weather you have. wind storm, rain storm, snow, ice your trees are able to withstand that and you got a lot less tree failures, limb breakages," he said.

The experts say you also want to consider removing split stem trees like this one.

"Moisture settles down in-between the branches and that moisture weakens them branch connections and makes them more inclined to fail during wind events as well," said Denny McCarthey with the Virginia Department of Forestry.

Many insurance companies will not cover damage caused by trees that are dead or split. That means a little money up front to keep your trees healthy and safe could save you time and money in the future.

To get an idea of how well preventive maintenance can work...

Last year in the weeks leading up to the massive derecho, city crews were doing preventive work in a neighborhood, which resulted in only a dozen issues of downed trees and branches. Compared to another neighborhood that didn't get the work, crews answered roughly six times more calls.