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Missoula prepares for weekend winter storm

Missoula Trees
Posted at 8:49 AM, Sep 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-26 10:50:04-04

MISSOULA — It hasn't been fall for long, but winter might be coming early to parts of Montana with some areas are expecting potentially historic snowstorms this weekend.

The trees in Missoula are just starting to change colors but before long, the leaves might fall off for good.

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Missoula tree specialist Marie Anderson says if a storm does hit this weekend, it could cause problems.

“We always have a storm preparedness plan in place. We have staff that are on call, we have vehicles that are fueled and ready to go. We plan for the worst, hope for the best.”

Anderson says there are about 30,000 city trees, and some of them are expected to fall during the storm.

“In the winter, trees can definitely handle snow loads. When they have full leafed canopies, they cant. That’s when that potential for break increases, potential for risk increases.”

The City of Missoula does not help clear fallen trees on private property. So if you have a downed tree, especially if it hits a power line or is blocking the road, call NorthWestern Energy or 911.

“We just ask again if people do see it, if they’re uncomfortable being around it, just avoid the area.”

You can report a fallen tree and get more information on the city website.

If you need help moving a tree, or if you want to help clear debris, you can call volunteer organization Imagine Missoula at (406) 748-6752 .

Additionally, homeowners should also think about their sprinkler system.

Experts say if you won’t have time to get your sprinklers blown out before the first storm, you can always try protecting them-with a blanket, and a box.

Sprinkler Foreman's Ron Cummings says it might be hard to get a professional to help you before this weekend -- but it’s not too late.

“I would suggest covering up anything you have outside that’s exposed. Such as your point of connection that comes out of the house, or anything that’s above ground.”

“If it freezes overnight, and is thawed in the next day, we really don’t have a lot to worry about.”

Cummings says they are getting concerned phone calls, but problems usually don’t arise until it freezes multiple nights in a row.