This month’s column was supposed to be about the Midtown YWCA. You’ll be able to read that story in a future edition, but the really big news is the storm we had on the first day of summer. On the night of the storm I was at my grandparent’s house. The wind was blowing so hard that we didn’t even see or hear a huge tree that fell down right across the street. It blocked a front door and damaged the fence. Fortunately it missed their house. At the other end of the street two trees fell against a brick house and caused the 2nd floor to move. According to the Weather Service the wind gust that night was 80-85 miles per hour. That’s as strong as a tornado!
On my mom’s street two boulevard trees fell over and another one came down in a neighbor’s yard. A block away at 32nd and Longfellow Avenue, three trees all in a row smooshed several cars. There were a lot of places where the trees pushed up the sidewalks over a foot high, as well as blocked most of the street. At my dad’s house another one of the tall pine trees fell down and caused a streetlight and pole to hit the fence. It is now the tallest tree standing’s job to be in charge of the yard. The next-door neighbor actually had lightning strike one of her trees.
At camp on Monday, most of the kids had stories to tell about the damage in their neighborhood. A couple of kids’ houses were still without electricity. Ours came back on around noon the day after, but by then all the ice cream was a gooshy mess.
I went to watch fireworks on the 4th of July at Powderhorn Park. Some kids were climbing on the trees that had fallen over or had broken in half. A big branch from one tree fell in the middle of a playground blocking a few swings and a climbing area. A few trees also came down at Corcoran Park. It will probably take the city most of the rest of the summer to clean up all the branches and leaves.
I was sad that so many trees fell down or were damaged. Trees are pretty and provide shade, but more importantly they absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that “a mature leafy tree produces as much oxygen in a season as 10 people inhale in a year.”
If you had trees fall down on your block, I hope they didn’t hit your house or anybody’s car. We forget that thunderstorms can be as dangerous as tornados. Although there was property damage, we can be fortunate that nobody was hurt.