Snowstorm aftermath: Hundreds of trees down around Seattle and prime landslide conditions

The snow has stopped falling but the damage is far from being cleaned up, even in Seattle.

Trees brought down by the weight from the snow still litter the city. Plus, as the last of the snow melts into an already saturated ground, there’s a new concern for landslides.

Seattle Parks and Recreation crews are working to clear the downed trees and get parks reopened and safe as quickly as possible while monitoring high slide risk areas.

Jon Jainga, natural resources manager, said there is damage at almost every city park.

“The weight of the snow... is too great for the trees,; they all took a fair share,” Jainga said.

KIRO7’s Deedee Sun rode along with Jainga as he assessed damage at several city parks. The downed, uprooted, snapped or broken trees were everywhere.

Jainga said right now, crews are only dealing with priority one calls -- trees that are blocking paths, or down too close to parking or buildings and pose a safety risk.

“This is a priority one because it's right next to a handicapped stall,” Jainga said about a tree at the Japanese Gardens at the arboretum.

The crews do quick work. A few cuts from the saw, rope around the branches, and the decades old maple was dragged through the woodchipper.

“We continue to get calls every day,” Jainga said. He said as people start getting outside again, they’re now noticing and reporting the down trees (something that can also be done through the city’s “Find It, Fix It” app).

The parks teams have already cleared more than 100 trees, but counting priority two and three cases, there could be hundreds more.

“We have over 485 parks so we'll have to go really go through and make a really good assessment,” Jainga said.

Plus, he says the fully saturated ground means prime conditions for more trees coming down, or landslides. He said there was already a small landslide Thursday in the West Seattle /Alki area.

“A couple of trees were uprooted and slid, didn’t hit any of the condos or apartments below. We’re going to be continuing monitoring a lot of our areas that are prone to some of our slide areas,” Jainga said.

Those priorities are on top of park crews still working on snow removal.

Friday afternoon, unplowed trails at the arboretum were still snow packed. But crews painstakingly shoveled, plowed, and salted the main two mile loop and left the arboretum with a clear trail.

“You come into our parks and we still got a lot of snow, lots of compact ice. So we want to make it safe for all the park users, especially for this holiday weekend,” Jainga said.

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