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Eversource concerned over state-wide drought affecting the powerlines

Eversource said the extremely dry conditions statewide are weakening trees and that means potential danger for powerlines.

BERLIN, Conn. — The latest U.S. Drought Monitor Report, released Thursday, indicates drought conditions have worsened across Connecticut and it's not just impacting our region's water supply. Connecticut's major power provider is also concerned about the drought.

 Eversource said the extremely dry conditions statewide are weakening trees and that means potential danger for powerlines. So, as part of their annual scheduled maintenance this year, Eversource is paying especially close attention to roadside trees in distress.

"Some may have some brittle leaves or curling leaves you may see first," said Sean Redding, the Eversource Vegetation Management Manager for Connecticut.

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 Those with early fall colors or branches falling are also indicators. He notes that, even if we catch up on rain over the next few months, the impacts of this drought could still be an issue for a year and a half in part due to lack of root growth.

 "That can have effects next year for flower production or in fall for acorn production and then the next spring for seed production," Redding said.

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 Eversource's forestry partners from UConn say trees along the roadsides are already under a great deal of stress without a drought.

 "That's because they (trees) are crowded and because they are impacted by any number of factors including excess wind and air pollution and that sort of thing," said Thomas Worthley, a UConn Professor of Forestry.

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 He notes we experienced a similar drought from 2015 into 2016 "which led eventually to outbreaks of the Lymantria dispar which is known these days as the spongy moth which did all the defoliation in Eastern Connecticut," Worthley said.

 Eversource suggests you know what your watering restrictions are for your community because if they are not too restrictive they suggest a good soaking especially for the trees in your yard under duress. 

Tony Terzi is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at tterzi@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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