A Dangerous Situation: An Ice Storm

Posted by Professional Tree Climber on 2/21/2015 to Climbing News
climbing in an ice storm

When it comes to tree work, personally I feel there isn't a more dangerous situation than an ice storm. Warmer weather during winter months will bring in cold rains or worse yet the freezing fog/mist that coats everything in sight. Even the strongest of limbs can’t withstand the overbearing pressure caused by the heavy loads of ice.

Trees are very strong when pushed or pulled in a straight line parallel with their trunks but with an over load of ice on the branch tips the trees are bent and distorted towards the ground bending them in their weakest of directions. Many times the ice buildup will congregate towards the branch tips leading to catastrophic failures of entire tree sections. Other times the weight of the ice will cause a slight scoring with a handsaw to burst the tension wood like a popcorn kernel.

Climbers need to take extra precautions while rigging down and into ice covered trees as well. Many times limbs are completely overweighted with ice which can lead rigging points to fail injuring the climber, groundsmen, and property. Using multiple rigging points is a great way to mitigate the risks of rigging frozen trees. Groundsmen need to beware of splintering ice shards that can become dislodged or fall from nearby trees as well. Lastly road conditions can be extremely hazardous during ice storms as well.

Obviously our customers matter when it comes to getting the trees off their house and off the power lines but it also matters if we come home safely. If road conditions are too bad everyone should be accepting enough that the job will have to wait. If the trees in an ice storm aren’t dangerous enough nope we have to worry about all the texting drivers and race car drivers that feel the need to pass the big slow dump truck in front of them!

The biggest thing we want to get through to you is the dangers that are present during ice storms. Trees are incredibly strong when the force is put on them in the right direction, it just seems that ice storms put it in all the wrong places in all the wrong directions! Stay safe!

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