Monday, February 8, 2010

unsung victims of the DC Snowpocalypse

The +2' of snow that hit DC this weekend has surprised and wreaked havoc on many. For example, the federal government, city schools and universities, and many other businesses have been closed over the weekend, Monday, and Tuesday, at a significant economic loss (partially recovered in sales of snow shovels and hot chocolate?). But the unsung victims in this storm, in my opinion, are the Washington street trees.

As the snow started to accumulate on Friday night, I heard a loud *crack* in the courtyard of my building, and saw the first fallen branch. A large branch from an >80 year old tree had smashed another small tree below it. Several other trees in my courtyard also lost large branches, bending and breaking under the weight of 26" of wet snow. Walking the city streets, I saw other casualties.

A few years ago in Providence, RI, they had a tree tally, where volunteers (including me!) identified and counted the street trees for a public record. (There are nearly 25k street trees in Providence, in case you were wondering.) I haven't found such a dataset for DC, although there is a city Urban Forestry Administration. Beyond my anecdotes, it'd be interesting to know the scale of the damage to the city's trees from Snowpocalypse 2010.

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