City workers busy assessing diseased and damaged trees

Posted at 12:20 AM, Jul 09, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--When a big storm blows through central Virginia, toppling massive trees and knocking down power lines, the widespread destruction can sometimes turn deadly.

Now, officials in one part of Richmond are concerned about what will happen during the next big storm, ahead of what's fallen from the sky this year.

In September 2003, Hurricane Isabel hit central Virginia. While structural damage was minimal, trees came down everywhere.

Homes and cars were damaged and power was disrupted for weeks. The main culprit was a saturated ground caused by large amounts of rain in the days and weeks leading up the storm.

In just the first half of 2013,  more than two feet of rain has fallen in central Virginia, which measures in at four inches above normal.

The saturated ground makes fallen trees, once again, a potential threat.

"We are responsible in the public works, in our division of urban forestry, for well over 100,000 trees.  Currently we're in the process of doing an inventory."

City workers are now assessing trees and marking those that are diseased or damaged.

"We are out every single day pruning trees and removing trees that need to come down or pose a danger."

But workers are up against the clock. A lot of man power was put into clearing trees for the new Redskins park.

And many trees have yet to be tended to in preparation for what is expected to be an active hurricane season.

The city is also asking homeowners to be aware of dead or overgrown trees on their own property, and hire a private company when needed.

While the public works department says workers are not doing anything out of the ordinary this year, they say safety continues to be a top priority.