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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Crazy Wind Felled a Tree

Last night at about 11:30pm a huge pine tree fell down at the park behind our house.  We had just returned from Livermore and were in bed with the windows open, reading.  It was insanely windy (gusts reportedly up to 45 MPH).  We heard this loud cracking sound and then the power went out.  My first thought was that it was some sort of pyrotechnics, but obviously the power outage didn't make sense.  We grabbed the Maglight from my bedside table and headed into the backyard to investigate.  I told Dave I hoped the chickens were okay and he looked at me like I was crazy and then said, "Aren't you more worried about the HOUSE?"  

We didn't see any tree material in our yard so we scanned the back of the house where the electrical panel is located.  We heard more popping sounds.  The only thing we noticed was the bamboo shade over Eddie's window had fallen down on one side so we took the whole thing down.  But all the electrical lines from the pole to the house seemed intact.  We spent a long time looking at the trees around the power pole nearest the yard but again, didn't see anything out of place.  Later I'd realize that I should have noticed what I didn't see: the giant pine tree I can normally see in the park wasn't in view anymore.  Duh.  

I headed out the front door to see which, if any, of the neighbors had also lost power.  As I was walking around the back side of our cul-de-sac, I could see flashing lights and other people wandering around.  Fire trucks pulled into the neighborhood, san sirens.  I talked to a fellow neighbor from a block away, who told me that a tree in the park had fallen down onto his house and the popping we heard was electrical lines breaking or arcing.  

The tree fell mostly on the park property, but a few of the top branches did hit this man's house.  The resident was home at the time but said he was not hurt and his house didn't seem to be seriously damaged.  

The firemen (or PG & E) came with chain saws a few hours later to remove the branches from the private property, leaving the rest of the tree as you can see it in the pictures below.  I didn't sleep very well at all: the house was too warm, the fans weren't working without electricity (too bad given the heat and that I prefer to have the fan sound on while I sleep), firemen and power company workers were talking/yelling quite loudly at the park while they worked, the chain saws, and then early morning park-goers gathering around the tree talking about what happened.  

According to all the flashing digital clocks in the house this morning, the power was out until about 6:50am.  I eventually got up and went to work since I couldn't sleep anyway.  

It's interesting that this tree snapped at the base of the trunk, rather than the roots uplifting.  You can see in some of the pictures that the asphalt path is perhaps raised a little, but not enough to cause any cracking or anything.  

The first thought that came to my mind when this happened was that story about how the city of Davis laid off the entire tree maintenance crew.  Ironic, eh?

Here is some news coverage of the City of Davis and the tree crew: and CBS 13.

I was just thinking about this tree when I took the dogs on a walk on Friday.  T
his guy used to hang out at the picnic table  a lot, and show off that his
dog could run up the steep branch that you see smooshed into the ground in this
picture.  I was wondering why I don't see that man and  his dog at the park anymore.

This tree had an owl nesting box in it...I hope the birds were okay.
But I have to say, I won't miss hearing those screech owls in the
middle of the night (hopefully they'll relocate somewhere further
away from our bedroom window!).

1 comment:

Leah Roy said...

Favorite line: "I hope the chickens are ok" and Dave looking at you funny bc you were more concerned about them than the house. But that's what home-owners insurance is for! No insurance on those chickies. Seriously though, I'm glad no one's property was damaged and nobody got badly injured!