The badly needed rainstorms bring with them falling ficus trees, and this one did some serious damage to the Sutter Street sidewalk early Thursday morning.
The rain storms of the year’s first atmospheric river are underway, with the heaviest of it currently expected to arrive Sunday night and Monday morning. That ought to make things "interesting" for the 49ers Sunday Night Football game against the Colts, being played outdoors in Santa Clara. But’s already made things "interesting" in Japantown, where early Thursday morning the winds and rain knocked down a tall ficus tree, damaging a car and leaving the sidewalk an absolute disaster.
TREE UPROOTED— Justin Andrews (@Justin_EAndrews) October 21, 2021
A pretty big tree came crashing down this morning in San Francisco on Sutter near Webster. Notice how the strong roots shifted and cracked concrete and power lines are dangling. @KPIXtv pic.twitter.com/ci2rGTx9ad
The tree is (well, was) on Sutter Street, between Webster and Fillmore Streets. And while Public Works may have it cleared by now (the fire department says it was “resolved within an hour”), you can see from the above tweet that those sidewalks are not going to be usable anytime in the near future.
Large ficus tree fell on Sutter St in San Francisco, took some Muni lines down with it. pic.twitter.com/pXdM1UlEe9— Amy Hollyfield (@amyhollyfield) October 21, 2021
KPIX has a little more detail from the scene. “The weather onslaught this week has already begun impacting trees weakened by months of drought,” the station notes. “A massive tree toppled over early Thursday on Sutter near Webster in San Francisco. It ripped up the sidewalk, crashed onto a parked car and tore down utility lines.”
And while these rains may be encouraging signs of ending the drought, more trees may fall specifically because of the drought. The trees’ dried roots are simply not as strong as they would be in a normal year. “With the drought, we’ll be watching the winds carefully because we know our trees are drought stressed,” Marin County Water Resources manager Liz Lewis told KPIX.
And yes, this tree was a ficus, which are particularly troublesome on San Francisco sidewalks. And as controversial as their removal can be, this species has a way of removing itself, with potentially dangerous results.
Related: Strong Winds Cause Trees to Topple in San Francisco, One Person Injured [SFist]
Image: binslag via Reddit