Winter weather continues to pummel regions across the United States. Various storms have brought snow, freezing rain, ice, and frigid temperatures to the doorsteps of Outsiders everywhere. However, over the weekend, Texans took cover from exploding trees as the Southern state experienced a major cold front.
According to Newsweek, Princeton, a town north of Dallas, saw temperatures drop to a frigid 18 degrees Fahrenheit. Princeton, TX resident Lauren Reber shared that as temperatures slowly neared freezing, she heard “loud pops” through the night. Texans could only compare the strange, unnerving sound to gunshots.
“We listened to them all night,” Reber said, “Sounds like gunshots going off.”
Further, while “exploding” might be a little misleading as trunks don’t literally splinter apart, it’s what’s inside them that makes the gunshot-like sounds.
As per the outlet, the bark contained within the TX trees began to expand as the typically liquid contents froze. In doing so, the sap pushes the bark to its extent, splitting the tree’s limbs from its trunk. The breaking of the branches and the tree’s expansion results in the popping sound ringing across Princeton this weekend.
Overall, the phenomenon really isn’t overwhelmingly dangerous. However, according to Arbor Experts, a tree company in Dayton, Ohio, the sap can expand so much that it can result in a massive tear in the tree’s trunk.
Usually, the trees themselves don’t often succumb to frozen sap. But what does pose a danger to Outsiders is ice buildup on affected tree branches and limbs. When these get heavy enough, it can cause them to break from the tree’s trunk. Falling limbs threaten those who might pass beneath.
Falling Trees Wreak Havoc on Princeton, Texas
Exploding trees were definitely a popular issue for Texan residents over the weekend. However, it was the winter storm and its precipitation accumulation that truly left the town in a state of disorder.
Fortunately for Reber, the exploding trees simply littered her yard with branches, leaving her unharmed. However, a fallen tree fell on top of her neighbor’s truck, while other downed limbs and trunks drug powerlines down.
Downed trees and ice left 40,000 Texans without power by Thursday, according to Newsweek, with Governor Greg Abbot issuing a disaster declaration for 17 TX counties.
Additionally, the weight of the ice sheet that formed atop Reber’s barn was heavy enough to collapse the structure, completely destroying it. As if that weren’t enough, a nearby transformer caught fire amid the storm, leaving Reber without heat. On Friday, the Princeton resident’s only source of heat came via a propane heater while she was able to charge her phone using her SUV.
Hopefully, as the power outage following the 2021 winter storms saw the death of more than 240 Texans, state representatives and power companies are able to maintain the integrity of the state’s power grid.