Huntsville Utilities relying on preventative measures to reduce outages caused by downed trees

According to the National Weather Service, portions of North Alabama are under a flash flood watch through Friday afternoon. Widespread rainfall could dump 3 inches of rain in certain areas. A wind advisory is in effect in several areas of North Alabama, including Huntsville. Winds are forecasted to blow from the southeast 15-25 miles per hour. Forecasters expect there could be gusts up to 45 miles per hour.

Howling wind can lead to falling trees and downed power lines. Huntsville Utilities say they prepare for this kind of weather in advance. An Arborist with the company Tree Techs says the likelihood of trees being blown over increases once winds begin to blow 50 mph and higher. A representative from Huntsville Utilities say keeping trees away from power lines is a priority year-round.

Gary Whitley, public and governmental affairs liaison for Huntsville Utilities, says crews work year-round with their tree trimming program to ensure trees do not affect the stream of power moving through their lines.

"Throughout the year we go around and trim trees to make sure that they're not in the way of our power lines. So our goal is to make sure that those lines as most as feasibly possible," Whitley said.

Another goal of the program is to prevent trees from falling over.

"We don't want trees to falls on power lines so that is a part of the tree trimming program," he said.

Arborists with Tree Techs say there are many factors that can lead a tree to fall like disease, rotting root systems, and high winds.

Whitley says this time of year they are normally bracing for ice storms. In terms of what they are doing today, they are watching and waiting to see what happens.

"Today we are doing the same thing we do every day which is provide foundational services to this community by ensuring service reliability," Whitley said.

Click here to see the Huntsville Utilities outage map. If you need to report a problem, click here.

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