Richmonders fear trees may come down with Hurricane Florence

RICHMOND, Va. -- There are more than 100 trees on a Department of Public Works master list that need to be removed. Residents who live near those trees fear they'll fall on homes or cars with Hurricane Florence.

Governor Ralph Northam issued a mandatory evacuation for a portion of Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore in preparation of the impact of Hurricane Florence, Monday afternoon.

Florence now has maximum sustained winds of 130 mph, the center said.

Terence Robertson, owner of Crossed Saws Tree and Lawn Care Service, feared trees across Central Virginia may topple with high winds and an already saturated soil.

"I’ve had three calls today as a matter of fact," Robertson explained. "I got a call for a dead tree in one lady’s yard she was worried that it may fall on her house if we get the winds."

Robertson stated maples can be deceiving in figuring out if the trunk is healthy or not.

"A maple is a tree that looks pretty healthy from the outside, but they’ll rot from the inside many of times," Robertson said. "The leaves kind of act like a sail so when the wind hits it it just pushes on the tree and bring it over."

On the list of trees in the City of Richmond that are waiting to be removed are two on North 31st Street on the Southside. They're marked with large red X's.

Homeowners said the maples in question have been on the list for more than a year. They feared the trees may come down on trees or homes if Hurricane Florence makes its way to their front yards.

Dominion Energy Senior Vice President of Distribution Ed Baine said crews are preparing for the worst case scenario.

"You think about the ground already saturated, with being the wettest year on record already that’ll contribute to some of the damage with trees falling," Baine said.

Other signs that a tree needs to be cut down is obvious signs of rot where it's easy to pull the bark off.

"Any tree that may already have a lean to it could be in dangerous. Sometimes mushrooms around a tree will give you a hint there’s a problem," Robertson said.

Robertson believed he'll receive even more calls for service as we approach the weekend.