Featured Story – Downed tree

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 5, 2012

Bill Ivy of TC’s Tree Service stands by the base of a tall oak that uprooted from the soggy back yard at Faye Hayden’s home on Pollard Street.

Large tree had little supporting root structure

Faye Hayden said that she heard no wind or lightning before the tall oak crashed onto her house about 12:30 a.m. Monday morning.

“It was the ice storm all over again,” she said.

Hayden had lived in the Pollard Street home in 1994 when an epic ice storm struck north Mississippi, felling trees, limbs and utility poles in such numbers that some homes in rural areas were weeks without electricity. The sound of the great tree crashing down on the utility room at the rear of her home early Monday brought it back to her memory, she said.

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Ironically, Hayden never lost power during her Monday morning ordeal nor had she lost power Sunday when a smaller tree fell and damaged the electrical service box attached to her home. A friend who helped her with Sunday’s damage had warned her then that he thought the tall oak was vulnerable, and she had decided to have it taken down, she said.

However, the watersoaked ground holding what sparse roots remained under the mature tree, were unable to hold it in the ground long enough for Hayden to have arraigned for a controlled fall.

“People think these big oaks have long taproots,” said Tommy Camp, owner of TC’s Tree Cutting. “Take a look at that,” he added, gesturing to Hayden’s backyard as from a raised bucket he cut the fallen tree’s limbs. The tree lay across the shattered roof of the carport’s storage room.

The structure had become a fulcrum. The weight of the tree’s upper trunk and branches had forced the base of the tree out of the ground and left it suspended about three feet above the hole its extraction had created. There were a few, small roots extending from the tree’s base. Water had partially filled the hole, substantiating the soaked condition of the ground.

Camp estimated the tree’s height at 110 feet.

Tallahatchie Valley Electric Power Association Manager of Communications Marlin Williams said that the electrical cooperative experienced spotty weather-related outages in its service area during rain and storms on Sunday and Monday. Up to seven inches of rainfall was reported in some areas, he said.