Power lines went down in Los Altos after a 30-foot tree fell, blocking the intersection of El Monte and Higgins avenues as well.
The intersection is right next to Almond Elementary School. When the tree fell, lots of people heard it.
The large evergreen snapped at its trunk, estimated to be about 7-8 feet around, and crashed through a wooden fence and onto North El Monte Avenue around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.
There was a larger popping sound, according to the man who owns the tree, who was trying to enjoy his morning cup of coffee when the rain suddenly changed the landscape of his front yard.
“I couldn’t believe it,” John Costa said. “My wife said the tree’s gone down, and I said, ‘No way.’ But then when you walked out and you saw it … thank goodness it fell into the street, not into the house.
The tree didn’t hit any cars or people, but did take down some cable, phone and electrical lines, causing a power outage in the immediate area.
The Los Altos Fire Department kept people clear of the wires until PG&E was able to confirm the lines were de-energized.
Costa isn’t blaming high winds on the tree’s demise. He blames it on the rain and a tree that had become excessively top heavy from years of having its canopy trimmed to avoid the power lines.
“As a result, it’s kind of leaned and leaned and leaned, and I think all the heavy rain just pulled it out of the ground,” Costa said.
City workers began using chainsaws to clear the scene around 11 a.m. They expected to have the tree cleared away by noon.