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UPDATE: More than 150 trees fall in Salinas

Trees fall on North Main, Chinatown

SALINAS, Calif. - UPDATE 2/17/17 4:30 PM:

Strong winds bring down more than 150 trees in the city of Salinas, according to the Salinas Public Works Department.

Traffic on North Main Street between Bernal and Laurel was blocked off after at least three eucalyptus trees fell on Friday morning. Crews spent the day trying to clean the debris from the roadway.

"It's amazing, I can't believe it,” said Heather Wright. “I've never seen anything like this before and it's just wow, I don't know what to say."

Wright wanted a firsthand look at the damage, knowing it was a snapshot of what was happening around the city.

In Chinatown, four people were hurt when a eucalyptus tree crashed onto their encampment.

"Sounded like a tent rolling down the street and sliding with the wind and people inside screaming," Charles Wick said.

There were also concerns more eucalyptus trees near Dorothy’s Place could come down, prompting them to serve breakfast at the Health Center.

Chinatown residents spent Friday shoring up their structures before the wind could blow them away.

“What I'm going to do is work on my tent a little bit so I don't get all my clothes wet and then I'm going to find a place like here so I can stay out of the rain," Wicks said.

Elsewhere, a large tree at the corner of North Main and Harden Parkway, closing one of traffic. Around the block, another tree landed on an apartment unit, crashing in the patio area.

On Alisal Street, magnolia trees posed problems. Crews had to deal with large limbs that fell overnight. One of the limbs dented the hood of a county vehicle.

Trees took down power lines on Natividad Road near the jail and off of Kern Street between Market Street and the freeway.

"The multi-year drought has weakened the trees and then the bit of rain we got last year and the bit of rain we got this year causes growth in the trees at the top and that makes the trees top heavy so you have weak trees, top heavy, saturated ground, wind comes, trees down," said Salinas Public Works Director Gary Petersen.

Petersen said his department had weeks of work ahead of them but their priority is to make sure roadways stay open for emergency vehicles, and that access to hospitals and essential service places are protected.

In the meantime, it’s all hands on deck with resources from the city, county, utilities and law enforcement.

“It is a very highly coordinated response among a lot of very competent people and organizations,” Petersen said.


Two large eucalyptus trees are blocking all lanes of North Main Street between Iris and West Bernal Street.

Crews are on scene. There is no word on when the trees will be removed.

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