Early winter storms raise concerns about power line, tree damage

MINOT, N.D. - An early season storm with wet heavy snow can cause a lot of damage to trees and power lines.

Most of the trees around Minot still have their leaves on them. When the snow comes before the leaves are gone there can be some major problems.

"They hold on to all the snow. There is already added weight with the leaves on there, when you put a little more weight and then they start to fail,” said Brian Johnson, city forester.

When a tree falls it can be very dangerous, especially if a power line is in the way.

"If you see a down line or pole always assume it is energized. Don't go near it,” said Tom Rafferty, Verendrye Electric Members Services manager.

Rafferty says that the snow itself doesn't cause outages; it's the wintry mix freezing that can be a problem.

"If it sticks on the trees or power lines and starts to freeze then it becomes an issue. Then it weighs down the poles and the lines and it can cause them to slap together easier when the wind blows and it can even cause them to fall off of the poles and the poles can even break,” said Rafferty.

The Minot Forestry Department says they are always on their toes and ready to go, but even more so with an early snow.

"We are prepared to do whatever it takes to get the streets open. If the phone rings we go. It is pretty simple. We have a really good crew. When they are out they just get the job done,” said Johnson.

Helping the community stay safe though the storms.

If there is a down tree on city streets or property give the Minot Forestry Department a call at 857-4178. If there is a down power line you can call 911 or Verendrye Electric 800-472-2141 to report it.