Wind and ice blamed for falling trees overnight on Lookout Mountain
Downed trees were a big problem Friday morning for people who live or travel on Lookout Mountain.
Dade County Sheriff Ray Cross said his deputies worked fallen trees on Scenic Highway, West Brown and several back roads.
The dozens of downed trees blocked traffic in some sections of road and created big hazards for an already dark and foggy morning commute down the mountain. EPB and tree companies had crews spread out across the mountain to restore power and clear the trees.
Tony Smith, who was helping clear trees, said they fell for a number of reasons, including wind, saturated soil and heavy branches that are weighed down by the sap turning to ice.
"And of course this mountain is on a rock so shallow-rooted trees," said Tony Smith. "When the ice starts melting that's what brings down the trees and limbs and all the rain makes the ground sort of rotten. This area is real wooded, a lot of pines on the side that could fall down."
EPB Spokesperson John Pless said the peak outage time was 3-4 a.m. with 500 outages on Lookout Mtn., 100 on Signal Mtn., and 100 on Mowbray Mtn.
He said ice and wind were the two major contributing factors. He estimated all power to be restored by noon but said they were taking the safety of the linemen into consideration as they worked in bucket trucks between gusts of wind.
Covenant College recorded wind speeds of 31 miles per hour just after 8 a.m. Friday.