Trees & Ice: Tracking Winter Weather

NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center (WPC) provides a way for urban foresters to easily monitor 1 to 3 day ice accumulation probability (and other weather events).NOAA Winter Advisory for Ice-Example  A great resource for urban forest managers.


  1. precipitation type
  2. forecast duration
  3. accumulation viewing option

Zoom in to an area of interest, or download KML files for viewing in Google Earth.

Image files are also available for download (no need for screen capture!).


Tree Risk Management, Disasters, and Professional Arborists

Basal decay on oakSpeakers at the Nebraska Arborists Association Great Plains Conference (January 16-17 in Lincoln, NE) covered several topics related to tree risk.  Matt McKeever (Copple, Rockey & McKeever, PC) covered The Law, John Fech (University of Nebraska – Lincoln) discussed Tree Hazard Awareness, and Dudley Hartel (Urban Forestry South) presented Planning for Disaster – The Professional Arborists Role, and Disaster Response – Urban Forest Strike Teams & Municipal Arborists.

Click here for copies of the Urban Forestry South presentations in PDF format that includes the presentation notes.

Virginia Urban Forestry (& Friends) – Preparing for Disaster!

Strong winds topple yellow poplar
Strong winds topple yellow poplar

Paul Revell, U&CF Coordinator for the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF), has organized a mock disaster exercise that will provide much more than a training exercise for Urban Forest Strike Team (UFST) crews in Virginia.  Paul has engaged 3 communities in the Tidewater Area – Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Portsmouth – plus Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), Fairfax County (VA), and UFST crews from the North Carolina Forest Service (NCFS).  Urban Forestry South is assisting with technical support.

Jason Eaton of VDEM is managing the mock exercise that will include mobilization of VDOF UFST crews, state mutual aid involvement from Fairfax County, and an EMAC request for resources to his North Carolina EMAC counterpart Carolyn Freitag.

Jim McGlone (VDOF) and Alan Moore (NCFS) will be the Team Leader and Assistant Team Leader for the exercise, and Charles Bailey (Georgia Forestry Commission) will be the UFST GIS Specialist.  Texas A&M Forest Service is providing logistics support for the mobilization.

Paul has identified several objectives for the exercise:

  • Demonstrate UFST capabilities to VDEM, FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers who will be attending training in the area during that week, and to municipal urban foresters and local emergency managers in the Tidewater Area
  • Continuing education for a full range of UFST resources
  • An opportunity to use the UFST risk assessment protocol based on the ANSI A300 (Part 9) and ISA Tree Risk Assessment BMP
  • Exercise the EMAC connection between Virginia and North Carolina so that we better understand the ability to respond regionally (i.e. across state lines).
  • Exercise State Mutual Aid between the City of Virginia Beach and Fairfax County for UFST resources

Following a VDOF/VDEM/UFS conference call briefing with the three communities, the participants identified 3 important outcomes from the exercise (in addition to the training and actual exercise protocol):

  1. A standardized UFST Damage Report “Template” that would be used by localities to submit Preliminary Damage Assessment requests (PDA)
  2. An urban forester (and UFST) training package for damage assessment needed to support the PDA
  3. A method to easily list UFST trained crews in a state (by organization) for mutual aid (from

The exercise will begin on September 6th when VDEM initiates the “mock” resource request through the EOC, and continues on the 9th when Paul Revell meets at the Virginia Beach exercise “command center” with the team leaders, community urban forest managers, and Eric Kuehler (Urban Forestry South).  The UFST crews will be mobilized to arrive on September 10th.

Urban Foresters Prepare for Disaster

Once spring arrives in the region, the threat of ice storms may wane but hurricane season looms!

Ice and wet, heavy snow are not uncommon weather events in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Virginia from December through February.  Along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts the summer threat of hurricanes is always present.  tree defectsAnd these coastal storms often spawn extreme wind events and soil soaking rain inland throughout the South and Midwest.  What should urban forest managers do to prepare for these events?

In the past year several projects have been completed that help guide municipal and urban forest managers.

A Central Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission (CARPDC) project by Rachel Barker developed the Vegetative RiskManagement Plan (VRMP) and collaboration strategies for urban forester engagement with local emergency managers.  This project also includes the Urban Tree Risk Index (UTRI) tool that is a GIS process for developing risk management zones on a county or multi-county basis.  Get the list of links here…

The Friends of Hawaii’s Urban Forest (FHUF) recently announced the Urban Forestry Emergency Operations Planning Guide for Storm Response (UFEOP Guide) developed by Teresa Trueman-Madriaga.  This guide provides urban forestry professionals concrete approaches when preparing for natural disasters that impact the urban forest.  The guide contains 10 key components of preparedness: planning, safety, communications, contracts, incident command system, inventory, mutual aid agreements, training, vegetative debris, and vulnerability.  Get the guide at Smart Trees Pacific…

And, the Georgia Forestry Commission and Georgia Urban Forest Council recently completed Community Forest Storm Mitigation Planning for Georgia Communities prepared & presented by Connie Head.  Initial workshops were held in Gainesville, Marietta, and Mansfield for urban forestry staff, municipal/county managers, and local emergency managers.  The combination workbook & template are used to guide community planning and preparation for urban tree mitigation.  Download the workbook & template here…

A key message from all of these projects: know and reduce urban tree risk!