What happens when you combine wind and rain? You get a hazardous combination. Just ask Turlocker Craig Mathews who found a dead tree uprooted on top of his truck Tuesday morning.
The tree from Mathews’ yard that fell on his truck was just one of six trees that became uprooted due to an incoming storm many meteorologists anticipate to be one of the biggest to hit the area in recent years. While 596 residents picked up sandbags from the City of Turlock on Wednesday and Thursday to prepare for the storm, no one could anticipate exactly which trees would pose a threat in the unpredictable conditions.
“They got here pretty quick,” said Mathews, of the City of Turlock staff that cut down the tree from his car and placed it in a chipper truck.
“It’s been a few years since we have seen trees blow over of this size,” said Keith Humphrey of the City of Turlock, noting that when rain saturates the ground it weakens the base of the tree. “Enough wind and enough rain and that will do it. That’s why it’s very important for homeowners to maintain trees.”
According to Mathews, he had asked the City of Turlock for nearly three years to remove the dead tree but no action was taken. Less than a mile away two trees also fell on Miguel Sanchez’s Chevrolet Tahoe, shattering the windows and taking the Christmas decorations down as well. Sanchez requested the City take care of the dead trees three months prior as well.
However, according to the City the responsibility falls on the owners to have trees removed that may prove harmful. Chapter 7-7 of the Municipal Code states: “It shall be the responsibility of every property owner and every person occupying land to protect street trees planted in the parkways or planting easements on or adjacent to his property from physical damages and other plant materials which can be detrimental to the street tree's growth or health.”
“Ideally property owners would monitor and maintain their street trees on an ongoing basis to address any maintenance needs which could help to reduce the risk of falling trees or branches during significant weather events,” said Director of Parks, Recreation, and Public Facilities Allison Van Guilder. “Unfortunately, even with regular maintenance, we can’t always prevent these incidents from occurring.”
If necessary, after hours city crews will be deployed to respond to calls for flooding and downed trees blocking roadways and sidewalks. Calls for service between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. may be made to 668-5594 or 668-5590. After normal business hours, call 668-1200 for any non-emergency service. Non-emergency calls for service will be prioritized and handled depending on the availability of resources.