Danger Overhead: Are Your Trees a Threat for The Next Storm?

Spring marks the return of Virginia’s beautiful, leafy tree canopy, as well as the unfortunate arrival of peak tornado season. The twisting winds of an EF1 tornado can easily transform our lovely oaks and maples into destructive monsters, as we just witnessed during two recent severe weather events 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.

Last March, 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 Commonmwealth. 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 area homes and businesses.

You get the picture!

Justin, our NNINS home claims expert, says there's not a whole lot you can do to stop the power force of a tornado. But you may be able to minimize damage to your home and property from strong winds by taking care of the trees in your own yard this spring.

Look for 4 basic warning signs that you’ve got a potentially dangerous tree:

  • Leaning with cracked or heaping soil or roots on the opposite side
  • Multiple V-shaped trunks vs. U-shaped. V-shaped are prone to splitting
  • Signs of illness: decreased spring foliage, fungus and/or carpenter ants at the base of the tree, hollow pockets, cavities or decay
  • Signs of damage: peeling bark, deep cracks, partially detached or suspended limbs or stem tops

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You may even want to have them professionally inspected every few years. A certified tree expert is trained to discover signs of weakness or disease that you may miss 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.

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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, is a great start! 

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