Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Great Tree Collapse

If a tree falls in a park, does it make a noise? Um, yeah and it was freaking loud.

The Twin Cities has a massive storm last Friday, June 21. My house guest, John, and I were about to head out to a music festival when the wind picked up, the rain started pouring and the pressure dropped. The tree outside my 3rd story apartment pressed on the electrical lines with every major gust. Then--bam!--the power went out and we suddenly saw an explosion out of one of the windows. It must have been a transformer.

There's no way to describe the wind other than intense and frightening. John, knowing the start of tornadoes, herded us quickly out of the apartment and into the basement. Opening the door from my apartment to the hallway was actually a struggle the pressure was that forceful. The stairwells were covered in water from the nearby open windows. In the pitch dark basement with only the harsh light of our cell phones we ran into my neighbors. I've never seen so many of my apartment dwellers in one place!

The storm only lasted 30 minutes to an hour but was extreme. Over 600,000 people were left without power; most not getting electricity for a day or more. We headed to John's house in St. Paul where we found out the storm wasn't as bad. Getting to St. Paul was a bit dangerous; all the lights were out and we had to drive through a labyrinth of toppled trees. I'm impressed that Xcel Energy responded so quickly. They estimated that my area would get power Monday or Tuesday but we were turned on late Saturday.

Later that day and for the next week, we started noticing the damage created. The National Weather Service says several communities experienced gusts up to 60 mph.  Trees old and young couldn't withstand winds of 50+ mph.  Luckily most trees fell in parks or took out fences and garages; however, a few houses and cars were not so lucky. Minneapolis Parks and Rec has counted over 3,000 trees uprooted just in the park system.

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