Things to watch for during weather cleanup - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Things to watch for during weather cleanup

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

It's been two days since heavy rainfall blanketed the Tennessee Valley, but crews are still cleaning up the mess. A massive tree, weighing ten tons, fell in Chattanooga Memorial Park and there is still heavy flooding at the Tennessee Riverpark.

Tree Worx is one of many companies in Chattanooga working around the clock to clean up the damage from Sunday's flooding.  

"Some of these older trees that have been damaged or have been stressed from the drought last year, it's having a toll on them now," said Hannes DeWett, Tree Worx. 

The average wait time for tree removal is 3 weeks unless it's an emergency 

"We've gotten a tremendous amount of calls for uprooted trees similar to this where the ground just gets water logged and can't hold," said DeWett. 

The tree landed in a pond at Chattanooga Memorial Park. Luckily, no grave markers were damaged. 

Hannes DeWitt says jobs like this one are best left to the professionals.

"We've heard horror stories about people trying to do things they weren't necessarily equipped for and it cost them a whole lot more money and heartache in the long run," said DeWitt. 

Flood waters can expose roots, making a tree more unstable and a risk in high winds. It's best to look for signs of trouble before flooding hits. 

"There's a lot they can do if they want to evaluate the tree themselves, if you start at the top of the tree and you look at the canopy, you look for dead or decaying limbs," said DeWitt. 

Stress cracks, bubbling, moving soil and abnormal roots are all warning signs.

"Especially in low-lying areas where the water sits, the soil gets waterlogged," explains DeWitt. 

Whether it's an uprooted tree or a leaky roof, officials with Better Business Bureau say you should do your homework before hiring a company.

"First thing they need to know is to know exactly what their rights are and by that, know what protection they may already have in place by their insurance company," said Pres. Jim Winsett, Better Business Bureau serving Southeast Tn. 

Officials say you should make sure the company has a good rating with proper insurance, get several estimates, only work with a contract and pay with a credit or debit card if you can. 

"People offering to do the job if your roof is damaged or whatever, "I can repair that for you in a week, however, I need you to pay me in advance" and that immediately raises a red flag," said Winsett. 

As tree services work around the clock, TVA officials are keeping an eye on conditions too. They encourage you to tie down equipment on docks and boats to avoid losing property and again they say until water levels return to normal, people should stay out of the Tennessee River. 

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