Residents Report Hearing ‘Exploding Trees' During Winter Storm

Neighbor says trees snapping sounded like gunshots overnight

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North Texas residents alarmed by popping and snapping outside say they’re experiencing an unusual phenomenon of "exploding trees."

The trees "explode" when water in the tree's sap freezes and then expands, causing the limb to swell and snap.

The loud pops were heard by Lauren Reber who said the sounds echoed through her Princeton neighborhood overnight.

“We listened to them all night. Sounds like gunshots going off,” Reber said.

Some branches fell in her yard and her barn collapsed under a sheet of ice.

“There’s a good quarter-inch of ice on top of it,” Reber said, and on top of that, she’s been without electricity all day because she said the transformers by her home caught fire overnight.

“Our only means of heat right now is our propane heater because all of our firewood's frozen,” Reber said.

Along her road, we found a tree toppled on a truck and another one fell across a front porch.

There were also linemen cutting branches that were weighing down power lines.

It's an example of the scene across northern Collin County where trees as far as the eye can see are coated with ice and hills are so slick some cars can't climb them.

Throughout the storm, Kirby Rogers, a Princeton resident, has rescued stranded drivers with his four-wheel-drive truck and given rides to people who otherwise couldn't leave home.

“I’ve had to help a lot of nurses so far that, you know, they can’t get out of work,” Rogers said. “Their job relies on them.”

Rogers said he too lost power overnight but, unlike Lauren Reber, it came back on Thursday morning.

Reber, who lost power due to a downed line, said she stays snug in the driver seat of her SUV and charges her phone while she waits for warmer days to come.

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