By: Julia Deng
MIDLAND - Tree branches, weighed down by sheets of snow and ice, have damaged homes, cars and power lines throughout the Basin.
"[We] haven't seen anything this bad in the area in 45 years," Timothy Hair told NewsWest 9.
Hair works with Midland TreeKeepers, a group of volunteers affiliated with Keep Midland Beautiful.
"Another cold front is coming in, possibly with freezing rain on Friday morning," he said. "We're encouraging everybody, if they haven't already, to take care of broken and hanging limbs, limbs extending over power lines and other potential safety threats before this next arctic wave."
Jose Martinez, a Midland resident, called the barrage of falling tree branches "horrible," and "the worst it's been any winter."
"There was a car over on Dallas Street that got hit with a branch in the front," said Martinez. "It was awful.
Hair said he had "heard stories of small cars being totaled" by untrimmed tree limbs.
"If a large tree limb falls on your roof, it can damage not just the roof, but the beam supporting the roof deck," he said. "And getting that fixed is not a minor challenge. It's a big expense and a big procedure."
Roof and support beam repairs can run up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to contractor estimates.
Midland TreeKeepers urged residents to hire professional arborists to help determine which branches need to go.
"You'll have people coming up to your door, offering to clean up your hanging branches for a much lower price," said Hair. "We call those people taking advantage of this problem 'pick-up truck bandits.' You might only spend $150 hiring them right now, but if anything does happen to your home, your insurance liability won't cover it. Spend the money on a professional now, and save yourself the potential headache."
The City of Midland has designated two temporary drop-off locations for people to dispose of brush, limbs and trees.
They are located at Hogan Park and the Scharbauer Sports Complex, and will be open 24 hours per day, seven days per week until cleanup efforts are done.
People can also drop off storm debris during regular business hours at the Citizen Collection Station, as well as the City of Midland Landfill.
All fees for tree limb disposal will be waived during ice storm cleanup.