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Falling trees continue to be a hazard months after tornado

While traveling hundreds of miles back and forth along the country roads of Greene, Johnson and Washington counties, the Tennessee Recovery Project team members are seeing more and more trees fallen next to and on the country roads they’ve traveled since the April 2011 tornadoes.
“We drive down a road and come back on the same path within 20 minutes and a tree has fallen along or across the roadway in front of us,” said program director, Melissa Willett. “When we visit folks we’re urging everyone to use caution. We’re very concerned because the fall and winter winds can be unpredictable, and snow and ice can easily fell trees in any season but this year the trees are distressed by the tornadoes.”
When winds get high, or even if it begins to rain, people in region say they re-live and re-experience the emotions, fears and thoughts from the tornado. “We just want to make sure they’re alert as they drive and that they use caution as they travel wooded areas. If you know trees are already leaning from the storm or an area has had heavy rains since April, be especially cautious when you travel down that road,” she said. reminds drivers to use extreme caution:
•Watch for falling or fallen trees. With many trees leaning and uprooted during a natural disaster, these trees have a greater chance of falling onto a roadway during high winds and onset of winter precipitation.
•Be aware of vehicles around you. High winds are more problematic for drivers of trucks, buses, recreational vehicles, campers, and drivers who are towing trailers.
•Allow extra distance for braking.
•Always avoid downed power lines.
•Reduce your speed and correct your steering, especially when moving from a protected area to an unprotected area, or when meeting large vehicles.
•Remember, wind is often accompanied by heavy rain or winter precipitation. Stay alert for slippery areas.
The Tennessee Recovery Project provides families, survivors, and first responders with short-term supportive counseling, information and education on normal reactions to disasters, and coping advice for children and adults affective by disasters. For more information, call (423) 306-0328.