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First winter storm of the year breaks tree limbs across the city

Close to 17 inches of snow fell in Columbia during the first winter storm of 2019.

The crushing weight of the heavy, wet snow caused trees and tree limbs to fall onto roads, into backyards and onto power lines across the city, causing widespread property damage and power outages.

Tree services across Columbia called in all available crews to help in the cleanup. ABC 17 News contacted several services that were sending callers straight to a voicemail message that they wouldn’t take any more storm damage customers.

Chris Haubner, the owner of Tree Service, Inc., in Columbia, said his crews were swamped and getting 30 to 50 calls each day after the storm.

Haubner also said winter storm clean up is much different than a regular day’s work.

“There’s some urgency obviously with trees on homes and those types of things,” Haubner said. “The deep snow makes work a lot more difficult and there’s a whole other risk factor with the slick conditions.”

The type of snow over the weekend was wet and heavy, making it more devastating to tree limbs, many of which cracked under the weight. As snow continued to fall Saturday, Columbia Water and Light crews were dispatched to call after call of limbs down onto power lines.

Haubner said certain trees were more problematic in the storm, including cedars and evergreens. He said residents can help keep trees from breaking.

“If you can reach the branches certainly try to knock some of that snow off as it gets heavy,” Haubner said.

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