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28 Years After Hugo, Irma Could Cause Havoc For Charlotte's Tree Canopy

David Boraks - WFAE

Longtime Charlotteans remember the shock of seeing streets and yards littered with untold thousands of trees, brought down by Hurricane Hugo in September, 1989. Could Hurricane Irma deliver a similar blow?

"I'm very concerned that what's left of our aging canopy may have a huge dent," says Charlotte City Arborist Tim Porter. "Hopefully, not near the scale and scope of a Hurricane Hugo, but, it's possible," he adds. 

Porter says Charlotte's abundant supply of trees provides environmental, social, and economic benefits to the community. "Older, larger trees - very stately, beautiful - they really speak to the spirit of the Charlotte community," says Porter. 

The arborist says property owners should make safety a priority during next week's potential storm. Porter also cautions that trees damaged during a storm can slowly decline, eventually falling and causing property damage or injuries.  

Hear WFAE's Charlotte Talks program (April 17, 2017) on "City of Trees At A Tipping Point."