Storm topples trees onto busy roads

Storm topples trees onto busy roads

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by Keely Chalmers & Teresa Blackman, KGW Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @KeelyChalmers

kgw.com

Posted on June 2, 2010 at 7:59 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 2 at 11:35 AM

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Certified arborist John O'Shea on Tuesday predicted that more trees will topple during this week's ongoing rain - and he was right.

Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning, trees had fallen onto several area roads.  A tree was blocking traffic on NW Glisan and 19th Avenue and there was also another tree-caused traffic backup near the intersection of NW Saltzman Rd. and NW Laidlaw. In Vancouver, a tree went down near the intersection of 81st and 88th Street.

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"If the winds were up above 30 miles per hour I would be on red alert because I know that, plus our wet soils, could create a real problem for a lot of trees," said O’Shea.

Winds were forecast to reach 25 miles an hour in the Portland Metro area Wednesday and as many as 3 inches of new rain could fall, according to KGW Meteorologist Nick Allard. 

"We have a lot of heavy rain falling across the area this morning, it is everywhere" Allard said on Wednesday.  "A large band of rain stretching all the way from the Philippines is right over us. That means the weather system is packed with moisture."

O'Shea warned that area residents should look for the warning signs in trees on their properties.  Those include cracks or bulges in the soil, new cracks in the trunk, or a change or increase in the tree's movement. O’Shea said anyone who spots these warning signs should call in a licensed professional as soon as possible.

The Oregon Department of Transportation was not taking any chances with trees along busy highways and interstates.

One tree already fell into traffic on Highway 26 on Monday near the zoo exit, causing a major traffic backup.  ODOT crews were trying to make sure more don't come toppling down, too.  One driver hit the tree, but that person was okay. ODOT officials said that tree was rotting and likely toppled under its own weight, with the help of all the recent rain.

This weekend crews will remove three precarious tree trunks above Highway 26. So drivers should expect some closures either Saturday or Sunday morning. ODOT is still working with arborists to determine exactly when that work will be done.

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