April 8, 2013

Trees uprooted, fences down as wind blows through Modesto area

Blustery weather uprooted trees, knocked over fences and caused a bad-hair day throughout Stanislaus County.

Blustery weather uprooted trees, knocked over fences and caused a bad-hair day throughout Stanislaus County on Monday.

High wind with gusts of more than 40 mph blew over a tree at Patterson High School, and one of its branches hit a student.

The girl was fortunate that she was hit by only a branch of the approximately 70-foot pine tree, Principal David Stubbs said. She suffered minor injuries but was taken to a hospital as a precaution.

In central Modesto, a tree limb made contact with a power line, knocking down the line near Del Mar and Del Vista avenues, a few blocks southwest of Tully Road and West Roseburg Avenue. Other short power failures were reported throughout the city Monday.

Downed trees and limbs affected traffic on a number of streets, including Claribel Avenue between Roselle and Terminal avenues and on Debbie Lane near Rumble Road.

As of late Monday afternoon, the city Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhoods had 30 calls for service, including six downed trees, according to operation manager Steve Lumpkin.

Yards a mess

A number of people responding to a question on The Bee's Facebook page about the wind reported spa and barbecue covers blown about, a toppled garbage can with trash spilled, a fallen birdcage and recently finished spring cleaning in the back yard ruined.

At Patterson High, an arborist examined several other old trees on the campus and determined that one more pine and four Modesto ash trees should be removed for safety. Workers spent the early afternoon cutting down those trees.

Average wind speed in Modesto of 20 to 25 mph kicked up dust Monday, prompting the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to issue a health caution. Exposure to the particulate matter, the district advised, can cause serious health problems, aggravate lung disease, trigger asthma attacks and bronchitis and increase risk of respiratory infections.

The wind is expected to die down some today, with average speed of 15 to 25 mph, and taper off Wednesday for a calm, warm day, with a high around 80. Highs are expected to stay in the upper 70s through Monday.

Bee staff writer Erin Tracy can be reached at etracy@modbee.com or (209) 578-2366. Follow her on Twitter, @ModestoBeeCrime.

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