Storms cause widespread damage, more on the way

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- As the First Coast braces for another round of thunderstorms headed our way Wednesday, some people are still dealing with damage from last Friday's storms. Experts warn that tree maintenance can do more than save your property, it can also save lives.

Buried underneath the large branches of a massive oak tree and its plush leaves in a Southside neighborhood is a swimming pool.

"That's the perfect example of a tree that has been here forever," said Roy Smith. "It doesn't take much wind to take them down."

Related: More rounds of rain tonight and Wednesday

Friday night's storms caused Roy Smith to hunker down in his home on Kellow Drive.

"It was really heavy rain and 30 to 40 knot winds," said Smith. "Like little mini tornadoes every once in a while. Stuff hit you in the face. Felt like you're out in the middle of a field getting smacked."

Several of Smith's neighbors dealt with downed trees and are still tackling the damage left behind.

"I don't have a problem with trees falling, they fall where they're supposed to." said Smith. "And most people just say I'll fix it when it falls."

With another round of thunderstorms headed to the First Coast Wednesday Smith says he is prepared. He gets his trees trimmed regularly.

"They're falling all over Jacksonville," said Rick Warming of Warming Tree Services.

Over the past month and a half his crews have been busy, even with additional staff.

"It's still tough with these afternoon thunderstorms that are hitting every day," said Warming. "It keeps pushing us behind."

Like Smith, Warming is all for prevention, offering these tips.

-If you have large live oaks or water oaks thin the canopy out allowing wind to blow through. That will help to stop the tree from uprooting.

-Look for damaged trunks and rotting sections. Be sure to remove the dead sections.

-Have a professional evaluate and maintain the trees on your property.


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