The icy spring storm that swept through the region last week resulted in a record-breaking day at the McPherson Area Solid Waste Utility.
General manager John Hawk said the transfer station saw 830 vehicles come through Saturday, the most ever on one day since its opening in 2007. In addition, several other days brought in an average of 100 vehicles.
Each carted off piles of broken limbs, stripped from trees by precipitation that accumulated Tuesday and Wednesday. The storm coated surfaces with at least .5 inches of ice, causing lost branches of all sizes.
“We had a lot of trees with a little damage,” Paul Katzer of the McPherson Park Department said. “We just had a lot of limb damage, and that's probably as bad as it got. I don't think we lost that many (whole) trees in town.”
The McPherson Area Solid Waste Utility has kept its facilities open for extended hours, which will end today. Hawk estimates about 90 percent of fallen limbs had been brought to the transfer station by Thursday. The pile designated for the recent storm's damage has grown to be 20 feet wide by 100 feet long and is 15 feet high.
Still, Katzer said, it could have been a lot worse.
“If there was wind, we would have had a lot worse damage,” he said. “I think we're pretty fortunate compared to what we could have had.”
Many look to 2007 as the last comparable ice storm.
“Our last big storm was in December 2007,” Hawk said. “(Last week) it looked like there was a lot of damage throughout the town, so we geared up to respond to that (2007) damage. But the difference is it warmed up here, while in 2007 it stayed cold and there was continuing damage. Then, material came in for a month, whereas all of it (this year) came through in about a week. It was bad, but not anywhere near what we saw in 2007.”
For this go around, the trees that were damaged the most were Siberian Elms, Silver Maples, and Bradford Pears. All three have weak wood.
Katzer suggests regular tree pruning to prevent broken limbs during storms with ice or high winds.
Contact Jenae Pauls at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @PaulsSentinel