It is not difficult to see the catastrophic damage to vegetation with the naked eye and some of the fallout has already been quantified.
Boyle County Engineer Duane Campbell reported recently that more than 250,000 cubic yards of debris had been collected at the Danville landfill alone.
Mercer County, which grinds all of the debris taken to the recycling center drop-off location, has already processed 8,165 cubic yards of mulch. Using FEMA's 4-1 conversion rate for chipped wood, this would be roughly 32,000 cubic yards of debris.
However, estimates vary as to how much the remaining trees suffered during the storm.
Percent of trees damaged is high
Patrick Carney, who owns Carney Tree Service in Danville, said he believes that as many as 90 percent of trees have sustained some damage.
"The most important thing for us is to try and save as many existing trees as possible and we can do that for a majority of the of the ones we work on," he said. "Unfortunately there are some almost everywhere we go that have limb loss to the point that they cannot survive."
Experts can ascertain why trees in general, and certain species in particular, splintered under weight of the ice.
One factor was consecutive years of drought conditions that weakened even heartier plants.
Amy Carmicle-Rabich, a service forester with the Kentucky Division of Forestry in Campbellsville, surveyed damage to the area early on. She saw predictable breakage to weaker trees and some to mature trees that was more surprising.
"A lot of the breaks you see were in species like many water maples, that tend to fork," she said. "Those form a weaker point than a lateral branch, which grows straight out from the trunk. What was striking to me was the older oaks and hickories out in the county that had the tops broken out."
While much of the damage is apparent, many trees that may seem to have weathered the storm will likely not survive it in the years to come.
Dave Leonard has seen many ice storms in 37 years of work as an arborist in central Kentucky. He said that many trees will grow small shoots called water sprouts, or suckers.
"Water sprouts are like the tree screaming for help. The roots are sending a message that the tree needs to grow as fast as possible and they indicate a structural imbalance."
Carney said that he has seen the false hope offered by water sprouts that grow quickly from wounded trees.
"They can really fool people into thinking that their trees are continuing to grow, but they are not anchored to the rest of the tree," he said. "They are receiving all the energy, but will probably either rot back or break away. People will see those water sprouts and think that their tree is growing and then be shocked when the tree dies two or three years later. "
There is also an opening for organisms that feast on wounded trees and possibly spread disease.
Southern pine beetles could attack the thousands of broken white pines. Elm bark beetles, which carry Dutch elm disease, could target elms.
"Insects are going to home in on damage to stressed trees," Leonard said. "There was also a tremendous loss of foliage. If that is compounded by another drought, or alternating drought and heavy rain like we have seen recently, that makes trees susceptible to root diseases."
The loss of tree could create other, often unseen, ecological effects.
"We don't recognize many of the benefits we get from trees," Centre biology professor Dr. Anne Lubbers said. "Leaves provide evaporative cooling as water leaves through the stemmata. They are also home to natural enemies, or species that prey on pests like mice and insects."
Lubbers said that birds, such as hawks and bluebirds, as well as squirrels, will find fewer places to nest.
Less foliage to cool the air and give shade could even mean higher energy bills as air conditioners work harder.
For many area residents, the impact of the storm was more personal.
Tom and Lois Quiligan, who live on Old Lexington Road, consider themselves fortunate that some of their trees, including a prehistoric redwood, survived.