Dane County unveils new storm cleanup equipment after weeks of s - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Dane County unveils new storm cleanup equipment after weeks of severe weather and tornadoes

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MADISON (WKOW)-- Storm cleanup continues nearly a month after Dane County was hit by a handful of devastating tornadoes. Dane County Emergency Management says most home and business owners have already cleaned up their properties after the storms, but hundreds of trees are still waiting to be cut up and hauled away. Tuesday afternoon county officials unveiled new equipment for cleaning up damaged trees that are left over after the severe weather. 

When Dane County officials were drafting this year's budget, they couldn't have known how timely their decision to buy these two pieces of equipment would be.

"They went to work right away," Dane County Executive Joe Parisi says. "This equipment is really helping our foresters after the storm."

Dane County became the first municipality in the state to buy its own lift equipment specifically designed to clean up storm-damaged trees. The "Spider Lift" cost taxpayers $112,000. Another piece of equipment, a track loader, cost an additional $60,000. County arborists say the equipment will save them valuable time and money as they work to clean up hundreds of trees after the storm. The equipment also keeps workers safe in the field. Without the equipment workers would have to climb up each individual tree in order to trim storm damaged branches.

"It gives us access in those areas where we never had it before," Dane County Arborist Adam Alves says. "This is an option that is available for us when we have no other options."

When fully extended the Spider Lift can reach up to 72-feet. Workers demonstrated the equipment's capabilities by cleaning up debris at Henry Vilas Zoo. In a few short minutes two crew members were able to cut down two broken trees and haul them away.

"Severe weather events are increasing and what we see is more frequent storms. What used to be 100-year rain events, they are occurring basically every few years now," Parisi says.

Arborists say the areas they're still working on include rural parts of Mazomanie and a few parks in Mcfarland. The cleanup will keep them busy at least until the end of the Summer.

"We've gone through the most urgent work already, the emergency situations. We're now in the, what I call, second part of the clean up. Which is less safety issues, but more of potential safety issues down the road," Alves says.

The two new pieces of equipment will be used for many years to come. County Executive Parisi says more equipment may be necessary in the future to keep up with the growing number of natural disasters that have hit Dane County in recent years.

"Climate change is really affecting the number of disasters that come our way. We need to prepare for it and look toward the future," Parisi explains.


MADISON (WKOW)-- Clean up efforts are wrapping up in Dane County after several weeks of severe weather. A handful of tornadoes wrecked havoc on thousands of trees in Verona, West Madison and Oregon. Dane County Emergency Management says the damage has since been cleaned up, but in the future, workers will have new tools to make the recovery go even smoother.

Tuesday afternoon county officials will unveil new equipment for cleaning up damaged trees that are left over after severe weather. County Executive Joe Parisi will be on site to see the new equipment in action as workers clean up a few damaged trees near Henry Vilas Zoo.

Tonight on 27 News at 5:00 and 6:00 p.m., Gordon Severson explains how this new equipment will speed up future storm recovery efforts and also gives an update on how things are going after last month's tornadoes.

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