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This tree north of the old boathouse appears to have split right down the top: Photo by Robin Korevaar

When the weatherman says, “Scattered thunderstorms,” this must be what he means.

Sometime Friday afternoon the sky around central, north, east and northeast Dallas opened up for a few minutes, dumping rain on various sections of the city. Winds gusted to 40 miles per hour. Thunder boomed. Then it was over, the sun returned and the Fourth of July continued.

I was at Grandma’s ranch in Kaufman at the time and never saw I drop of rain, though on my drive home at about 5 p.m. I noticed the roads were wet. The first sign of damage I noticed was Saturday morning on my way to meet friends for a lake run — a tree cracked at the trunk and felled on the Tom Thumb Mockingbird and Abrams parking lot.

On a loop of White Rock Lake trail, the flash storm’s impact was evident.

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South side of White Rock Lake: Photo by Robin Korevaar

Runner Robin Korevaar — also a photographer, artist and professional classical musician — returned to the trail (following a sweaty 9-plus-mile run, no less) to capture some of the damage we noticed.

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Tree toppled on White Rock Trail: Photo by Robin Korevaar

It is concerning to see seemingly healthy trees topple on a public park or trail, so I asked a City of Dallas Arborist, “What’s the deal?”

Philip Erwin says it’s difficult to tell from the photo, but “there can be numbers of causes, not the least is the stress related to the drought and fluctuations in the weather.  This is a concern for any area where people may frequent the location because we can see weakened trees break in structurally weak areas to relatively light stresses.”

While the city has a team of arborists and foresters who work to maintain healthy trees and rid public parks of sick ones, it is a big job, and it is impossible to predict every tree that might succumb to a weather event.

The trees at White Rock park, for example, “are more difficult to keep up with because of the sheer number of trees,” Erwin notes, “but the parks maintenance staff does important work in removing significant high-risk or hazard trees as they are discovered.”

He adds that trees on our own property should be checked as well. “We encourage property owners to have their tall trees checked periodically by credentialed professional arborists for their structural integrity and health.”  It’s hard to forget the story of the White Rock area mom who was paralyzed after a tree fell on her one gusty morning. (We also have a follow up piece on her here.)