October 30th, 2019 4:48 PM
Several branches of this 30-inch diameter tree at 376 Bartram Road snapped under the weight of heavy snow on its fully leafed-out branches. (Courtesy Riverside Public Works)
By Bob Uphues
A heavy, wet snowfall early on Oct. 30 damaged hundreds of trees in the Landmark's coverage area, according to local officials, who also reported downed power lines and power outages that have lasted into the evening hours.
In Brookfield, Riverside and North Riverside, public works crews were working into the evening to clear out fallen branches – some of them sizable – with more snow and windy conditions reportedly on the way.
"It's just bad timing," said Riverside Public Works Director Edward Bailey. "With leaves still on the trees, the snow is bad because it's so heavy, collects on the leaves and breaks the branches."
Bailey said the damage in Riverside was "widespread" and that 100 or more trees on public land sustained damage, with a half dozen trees – one of them on Bartram Road was 30 inches in diameter, Bailey said -- needing to be taken down completely due to major damage.
"We'll be chipping branches for the immediate future, at least," Bailey said. "We're working into the evening to do it."
North Riverside Public Works Director Tim Kutt said that about 100 trees in that village also sustained damage, although none were total losses.
"It was mostly small branches, but some were big," said Kutt, "especially the hardwood trees, where the branches can't bend."
Kutt said that he had public works crews as well as a private contractor out cleaning up the damage.
"We'll be 90 percent done today unless we get some more tomorrow," Kutt said. "It's still a lot of weight for trees that have their leaves yet."
Meanwhile, two Brookfield Public Works crews were called in to work a 12-hour shift from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 30 to respond to more than 100 sites where large tree branches fell due to the heavy snow.
Public Works Director Carl Muell said the damage was village-wide.
"It was from the woods to 47th Street, Custer to Eberly," Muell said. "It didn't show any mercy to the town."
When it's all said and done, said Muell, he expects the number of trees to have been damaged to be well over 100.
"We've been to more than 100 locations already," Muell said on Wednesday afternoon. "It'll probably be closer to 200."
As of 4:30 p.m., ComEd was still reporting scattered power outages in all three villages, with one affecting more than 150 customers in the South Hollywood area near the Brookfield-Riverside border.