Ice on branches and power lines is a power outage problem

“When you see ice like this, that’s why we’re so concerned,” said ONCOR meteorologist Jen Myers. “Because we know it can have an impact.”

DALLAS — With inclement weather hitting the North Texas region on Wednesday, arborists and meteorologists agree the threat of ice is a concern, especially with trees still on the mend after bitter February 2021.

A winter storm warning is in effect for all of North Texas beginning Wednesday evening. Accumulations of freezing rain, sleet and snow are heading towards northern Texas.

Ice buildup and wind gusts on utility lines could cause power outages and damage trees.

Amy Landbein Heath, ISA Board Certified Master Arborist and Owner of Texas Tree Surgeons in Garland, owns a second business selling firewood. She said much of the current inventory comes from downed trees that didn’t survive last February’s frost.

The trees that survived, but are still damaged and healed, are the ones to be concerned about for the rest of this week.

“Trees that have already been damaged are going to be much worse than they were a week ago from this storm,” she said. “There has been a loss of bark and cambium, the tissue that transports water and nutrients through the tree.”

Heath said this exposed tissue can make matters worse for trunks and branches that might already look split and damaged.

“It’s a kicking situation while he’s down,” she said.

ONCOR Meteorologist Jen Myers said she predicted much the same threat: ice-laden trees and branches that could bring down power lines if and when they fall.

“Even just a quarter inch of ice or a tenth of an inch of ice on a tree can add hundreds of extra pounds and cause those limbs to sag and break,” Myers said.

Myers said ice like this is “the reason we’re so concerned about ONCOR.”

“It’s something we’re watching very closely because we know it can have an impact,” Myers said. “And if the wind picks up, it can pick up those limbs and put them in power lines, which can cause grid issues.”

Heath also said the combination of weight and wind is where many arborists start to worry about complete “root-down” failures.

ONCOR said it had pre-positioned resources and personnel before the bad weather arrived to ensure that any necessary restoration work could begin as soon as safely possible.

Oncor customers can report outages and receive updates by signing up for MyOncor text alerts by texting “REG” to 66267, downloading the MyOncor app and following Oncor on Facebook and Twitter, or by calling 888-313-4747.

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