Friday, March 21, 2014

Costs of Heavy Lowland Snow

Earlier in March northwest Washington (mostly Whatcom County) had a fairly heavy snow storm. The snow began with temperatures just a bit above freezing. It was a wet heavy and very sticky snow and finished off with a bit of freezing rain. This particular snow event did a great job of sticking to tree branches and total snow from the single storm was in the 8 to 12 inches range.

Mid storm view in Bellingham

The result of the storm was some tree damage. There was the usual power outages in rural and some city areas as lines were broken by the mass of snow and trees leaned or broke lines down.

The event also has some costs to forestry. I did not observe any notable damage to conifers from this event, but did observe a number of broken big leaf maple and red alders. The red alders were particularly susceptible as they grow at angles towards light. That growth habit did a fair job of block forest roads  

Another cost impact of down limbs and trees is to the local diking districts. The districts need to maintain a drive-able surface along the top of levees. The red alders and cottonwoods along this reach of levee will require a bit of work to clear.

Nooksack River levee near Lynden

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