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Falling trees cause damage to homes, cars and utility lines

tree on car.JPG
Posted at 6:22 PM, Feb 22, 2023

Heavy winds wreaked havoc across the Central Coast, causing trees to fall, crushing homes, cars and bringing down utility lines.

A lot of destruction happened Tuesday night when the winds were at their peak but even on Wednesday, the storm conditions have been relentless.

In Cambria, heavy gusting caused a tree to nosedive into a home. In Los Osos, multiple trees from a eucalyptus forest toppled over onto another house.

"Last night, the wind got going and blew down one tree and it dominoed about 6 more and they ended up in our front yard and my wife’s car. Luckily we were inside, and no one got hurt," recalled homeowner Mark Alfirevic.

Understanding their proximity to nature, Alfirevic and his wife knew this was a possibility, even losing some car windows to similar wind events over the years, but this was by far the most damaging.

"The one that fell at 8:30 p.m. last night took out the eve of the house. We lost our front porch but other than that very little damage to the house, so we feel very fortunate," he said.

Certified Arborist Bill VanHorbek with Bunyon Brothers Tree Service attributes these downed trees to severe weather conditions.

"Prior to the rain this year, we've had a pretty extensive drought which can cause the trees to downward spiral, not be as healthy, and we get root dieback," he explained.

Mixing that with heavy rain saturating the soil, the roots didn’t have as much to hold onto leading to the trees' failure. With the extreme weather events the Central Coast has been having, VanHorbek says it was almost inevitable.

Damaged roots also led to a tree plummeting to the ground in San Luis Obispo, taking out two cars and the phone line with it.

"I know we had 50, maybe, mph winds here and that could do it for sure, but these roots were compromised," explained Steve Franzmann, Greenvale Tree Company owner.

The tree was so large a crane was needed to pull it off of the crushed car without causing the phone wires to slingshot back up.

The tree services say a big problem is that these trees are already damaged in some way, whether being planted wrong or because of the severe weather.

At the location in Los Osos, many of the trees were actually tagged to be removed because of that reason but Mother Nature beat them to the punch.

For the remaining dead trees, Bunyon Brothers Tree Service will be back Thursday working on removal. Experts say to try and avoid this problem, contact a professional arborist to have your trees checked. They can determine if you are at risk for tree failure.