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Crews fight heavy winds to clear backlog of tree damages in Sacramento

Even with multi-person crews, some of Sacramento’s beefier trees can take teams hours to cut apart and clear.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The city of trees took a beating in the latest round of storms hitting Northern California, creating a backlog of damage to clear.

ABC10 spotted city tree crews across Sacramento Monday, still working to clear roads and sidewalks of trees and large branches. Many of the trees have been down for two days after midnight wind gusts reached approximately 70 miles per hour.

Near 21st and F streets in Midtown, a giant Elm lied on top of a two story multi-unit house. Somehow it fell over teacher James McDaniel’s place next door, without hitting his roof. The roots pried open the sidewalk like the top of a tin can.

“The ground underneath it began undulating,” said McDaniel. “I knew it was gonna fall. I ran back upstairs where my daughters’ bedrooms are and told them all to run downstairs. In the process of doing that, the tree fell.”

While he contemplates his good fortune, he’s got no idea how long the massive tree is going to stay.

“I haven’t had anybody from the city come,” he said. “We have no idea when this is gonna be taken care of.”

Even with multi-person crews, some of Sacramento’s beefier trees can take teams hours to cut apart and clear.

“We’re all kind of on pins and needles, watching,” said Molly McCahan, who’s spending her second day without electricity in East Sacramento.

H Street in East Sacramento was still closed at 36th because of damaged power lines, even after crews chopped up the monster tree that fell on them.

“They just finally cleared this at about 2:30 this morning in the middle of the night with chainsaws,” said McCahan. “We’ve had a couple cars hitting it. We just want to let people know, please slow down when you’re driving through our neighborhood.”

She’s preparing in case it takes until late in the week to restore power to her neighborhood, mindful that there’s a very real backlog across the greater Sacramento area.

“This is a widespread problem throughout obviously. We’ve got major flooding in Wilton. We’ve got a lot of people who are struggling right now,” she said.

Recent storms also did damage to trees that are still standing, making them weaker. With ground still saturated, more trees will be susceptible to falling in future rounds of storms. The backlog of damage could easily grow again.

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