Local News

Wet Soil, Winds Could Endanger Trees

Posted September 14, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Dennis dumped a lot of rain on the Triangle two weeks ago, and now Hurricane Floyd is bringing more rain to areas that have not yet dried out.

The big fear is that Hurricane Floyd will be like Hurricane Fran, when the ground was so saturated that trees easily toppled, root ball and all.

But fears of trees just flopping over because of saturated soil may be somewhat unfounded.

A forestry specialist atN.C. State Universitysays, in the Triangle, at least some of the soil is in better shape for Floyd.

"The ground is pretty dry on top," says Jim McGraw. "It's not really muddy yet or anything. Relatively speaking, that's a good sign until winds get high enough that the trees snap off."

McGraw says people on recently developed property may have more to worry about.

"A lot of homes that have been built, let's say since Fran, where they've got water lines, sewer lines, ditching, foundations that have cut to the roots and the soil's disturbed, the ground is extraordinarily wet in those places," says McGraw.

There is one advantage to being on more recently developed property: in many cases, there are often fewer trees to worry about.

Of course, areas to the east of the Triangle that are getting soaked by rain should expect much greater saturation of the soil.