April tornadoes bring damage to N.C. forests

By on May 7, 2014

These images, taken from the plane during the aerial survey for storm damage, show a stand of trees that did not survive April’s tornados.  Images: Wayne Langston, NCFS.

These images, taken from the plane during the aerial survey for storm damage, show a stand of trees that did not survive April’s tornadoes. Images: Wayne Langston, NCFS.

In the past several weeks, severe storms plagued North Carolina, leaving paths of destruction behind. Tornadoes, high winds, hail and flooding can all cause major damages to forest trees, urban and shade trees, and structures.

Last week, the N.C. Forest Service aerially surveyed counties affected by tornadoes in the northeastern part of the state. During the flight, less than 750 acres of damaged timber land was observed in multiple counties. Unfortunately, surveyors also saw a lot of damage to structures, including homes and barns.

Damage to trees from tornadoes can manifest in several different ways. Typically, limbs and trunks break, but trees may also be uprooted, bent or twisted. In addition, wounds caused from high winds or hail may leave a tree more susceptible to pest insects or disease. Lastly, several areas in the state were flooded, another factor that can not only stress a tree, but alter soil composition and drainage.

If you have damaged timber lands, it is best to contact your N.C. Forest Service county ranger. They can assist you with salvage options, management questions, debris clean-up, timber buyer lists and more. Additional resources may also be found online at the N.C. Forest Service Recovering from Storms and Wildfires page or the NCDA&CS Disaster page.

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