On October 29, 2011 a historic snowstorm dumped more than a foot of snow on some communities in Western Massachusetts, including Springfield. The ‘surprise’ storm left more than 900,000 people without power in Massachusetts, closed thousands of roads and dropped tree countless tree limbs on cars and houses in the city. The storm marks the fourth major devastation to trees growing in Springifeld’s urban forest. The June 1st tornado, followed by a powerful micro-burst three weeks later, and Tropical Storm Irene caused the loss of many trees, and severely damage others, leaving many neighborhoods virtually without trees.
There was widespread damage from the snowstorm, which was comprised of heavy, wet snow, and hurricane force winds. The storm arrived while most trees were still in full foliage, resulting in much more damage than normally occurs from a winter storm. In parts of Springfield 10-12″ of now was reported and damage to thousands of street trees was observed. In numerous cases, entire trees were uprooted and fell, while trees in other areas suffered catastrophic failure from the weight of the snowfall, combined with strong winds. Large branches broke from the canopy of many trees, resulting in damage to property, vehicles and utility systems. Most of the region’s electric distribution system was offline for nearly one week.
Northeast Public Radio featured an on-air segment which outlined damage sustained to the trees of the region, including a discussion of the tree damage in Springfield. The segment can heard by clicking here.
Once again, Springfield needs to muster the energy, funding and assistance from the public in order to begin the process of regreening our devastated neighborhoods and restore its urban forest canopy. Please join in the effort by planting a tree in your own yard, helping to plant trees along our streets and in our parks, or donate your time or funds to neighborhood regreening efforts. Taking the time now will lead to dividends for generations to come. Why not consider helping in any way that you can with the replanting efforts. No donation, or commitment of time, is too small.
With your help, Springfield’s urban forest will be restored… one tree at a time.