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'We've been through ice storm, wind storm and now the snowstorm': Work load grows for arborists

SPOKANE, Wash. - Most of Wednesday's snow has melted away, but the workload for Spokane arborists has not gone with it. This week's record-setting snowfall took down countless trees across the city and tripled the number of calls for one landscape company.

"As soon as 7 o'clock hit, we just started getting calls non-stop," said All American Tree managing partner Connor Ramm. "Non-stop all day. We had probably 10 calls in about an hour and a half."

Ramm said he and his partner typically get four calls on a good day. They had to leave a project early Wednesday to go where they were needed -- Spokane's South Hill. 

"The South Hill is kind of a war zone right now," Ramm said. "There's branches broken into roads, covering sidewalks, you can see trees on houses, all sorts of stuff."

No one knows that better than David and Sue Rolando. The couple has lived on Manito Boulevard for 31 years and they've seen it all.

"We've been through ice storm, wind storm and now the fall snowstorm and we've seen a lot of damage -- significant damage come through on each one of those storms," said Sue.

"I think it's worse than ice storm, I really do," added David. "There were trees that came down, whole trees, but it wasn't anything like this."

They were woken up by loud noises late Tuesday night, only to look outside and see all the damage left behind.

"Then we start hearing crack! Pop! You couldn't sleep!," Sue said.

"So I got up and looked out the front window and I said, oh, it's the trees," added David. "And then from there it was thunderous. It would shake the house!"

Going off of very little sleep, David worked for ten hours to clear the street of all the limbs and branches ripped off the trees that line Manito Boulevard.

"I started with the street in the morning. I was worried that emergency vehicles couldn't get down our street if we needed an ambulance or a fire truck," David said. "I was taking stuff out of the street starting at 7 in the morning and finally at 5 o'clock it was like, 'okay, I'm done.'"

Like so many others, the Rolandos are waiting for busy city crews to get to their block. The city will be accepting debris at the Waste to Energy Plant for free until Oct. 19.

In the meantime, Ramm recommends taking your focus away from all the damage on the ground and shifting it upwards -- to look at your own trees near your house. He says right now, it's important to look at each individual branch for cracks and deformities, especially on maple trees, which are more likely to break.

"The cold snap actually sucked a lot of the sap back into the trunk, which makes the limbs a little bit more brittle," Ramm said. "But because the leaves are still on it, catching all that snow, it has all that cantalevered weight all the way out on the end."

Ramm says if you notice anything out of the ordinary, you should call a local arborist -- but make sure they're licensed, bonded and insured first.



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