Are You Ready?

The weather, especially wicked weather, is on my mind as Hurricane Isaac whips the Gulf Coast.

It’s been two months since the derecho slammed Montgomery County on June 29 and local officials are still cleaning up local tree damage from the storm’s strong winds. I recently interviewed a couple of tree experts who showed me the storm’s destruction firsthand for a Montgomery Channel on Location (MCOL) story ( One arborist told me the June 29 derecho caused the most tree damage he has ever witnessed in his entire career. The day after the storm, he said, his office received hundreds of calls from local property owners looking for help. Although we don’t know exactly how many trees were downed, we do know the storm’s damage to area trees was significant and widespread.

Arborist Adam Newhart shows Sonya Burke a Maple tree in Gaithersburg that was shredded by the derecho’s straight line winds.

In Gaithersburg, officials are still contracting out work to remove trees from city property that were damaged by the storms straight line winds.I visited one Maple tree that was shredded from the stormy’s mighty winds.  I saw others that lost limbs and, in Chevy Chase, I saw two giant oak trees that were toppled by the storm. It’s expensive to remove a downed tree especially if it is a big tree.  For that reason, local arborists say residents should be evaluating their trees now — before the next storm targets our area — to make sure they are safe and sturdy from future weather events.

Shortly after I produced this story, I traveled to Florida for a short trip. The day after I arrived in Palm Beach County,  rain bands from Isaac where making their way across South Florida.

As I watched the tropical Palm trees bend by the power of the wind, heard television reports of water spouts, flooding and power outages, I heard my inner voice ask: “Are you ready?”

We know severe weather will hit our area again. It’s inevitable. So it is so important to prepare now.



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Sonya Burke

About Sonya Burke

Sonya Burke is the Multimedia Manager at Montgomery Community Media (MCM). You can email story ideas at or reach her on Twitter @SonyaNBurke.


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