Tree falls on south Salem home

SALEM, Ore. -- Jodi Hack and her husband were sound asleep at 2 a.m. Friday morning when they heard a distinct popping sound, just outside of their window.

A massive "boom" soon followed, which was the sound of their 100 foot-tall white oak tree crashing onto their front yard, knocking down two smaller trees in its path.

"We sat up in bed, looked at each other and maybe thought it was earthquake," said Hack, who is up for reelection as a representative in the Oregon State Legislature.

The couple, armed with flashlights, assessed the damage immediately following the crash, but were unable to see the entire mess the oak with three-foot wide trunk caused to their yard.

Hack's husband, Steve, said the tree was rotten and was scheduled to be cut down next Wednesday.

Old and weak trees are more susceptible to falling during high winds, according to Matthew Cullen, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service.

Official observations collected from McNary Field at the Salem Municipal Airport show sustained winds between 18 and 23 miles per hour and gusts of up to 37 miles per hour around 2 a.m. Friday.

Cullen said although these gusts are not unexpected, there was a low pressure system moving across the region early Friday morning, causing moderately strong gusts.

Gusts coupled with heavy rains saturating the soil is a recipe for trees to uproot and fall, Cullen said.

"It was scary, but we're thankful that it wasn't worse than what it is," Jodi Hack said. "Had people been driving on the road, this could have killed somebody."

Traffic control and a PGE crew taped off part of the block to begin clean up of the tree debris that was strewn onto the street.

The Hacks can watch the crews clean their yard and street from their living room window.

"It's crazy how much damage can be done," Jodi Hack said.

Xfinity crews were also on scene to assess the damage of a utility line that was taken down with the tree.

The couple's electricity was unaffected by the fallen power line and they did not immediately notice any nearby households without electricity.


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