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Saturated Soil + Heaviest Rain Yet = Lots of Mudslides and Downed Trees

With the six inches or so of rain in my neighborhood over the past few days, the ground is now super saturated. Many trees have come down, with the sound of chainsaws every morning, mud is all over the roads, etc. I did not make any images today since the rain was like a curtain later in the day, and the creeks are roaring.

It rained only moderately today (a mere inch or two), but in the evening the wind started roaring and it is really dumping now, with water pooling in my backyard significantly deeper. I talked to a friend in the lower Eastern Sierra near Convict Lake, and they got 3 feet of snow in just the past few days, with no snow for several prior years. This latest front might practically bury the first floor of houses if this heavy dump makes it over there.

Update: 21:45: it was inevitable—now on UPS battery power.. Power came back on around midnight or later... got up to turn everything off. I was lucky to be in a “500-4999 affected” outage (orange dot), which gets high priority.

 
San Francisco Bay Area Power Outages from storm, 2017-0110 22:22

Wind and trees

It’s the wind that’s bothering me: my neighbor has a massive eucalyptus tree that just about overhangs my roof, which makes for a serious hazard—branches weighing a hundred pounds have almost made it to my roof in prior years, now the tree is far larger—and a potential oily torch in the summer. Inconsiderate neighbors are part of life I suppose, and since my requests to trim back the tree have been utterly rejected, my only option may be to send a nice unfriendly letter from an attorney. I’m just hoping my house remains intact through this storm (update: it did).

One reader wondered why I do not cut back the branches:

In SoCal we just cut back any tree/shrub that is hanging into our property lines, especially if we think it will pose a hazard. Don't think you can do that with the Eucalyptus unless some of its limbs are hanging onto your property.

You seem like a headstrong individual. Take a chainsaw or have someone cut it down. I have never hesitated to cut anything that came onto both my properties. If they have a problem then they can #$@%#$%!!!!

The limbs are about 50 feet over my property. Right over the property line, the limbs are up to 2 feet in diameter, narrowing down from there. As a resut of trimming back about 8 years ago, “water sprouts” now grow off the trunk and these large limbs are now several hundred pound missiles waiting to peel off in a high wind (water sprouts never have any solid attachment).

I’m actually quite careful when it comes to staying alive, and pruning such a giant would be insane except by a professional rigged with rope for safety and/or crane. This picture from a slightly larger tree in 1992 might explain: It’s a several thousand dollar job for a professional just to prune such a tree, what with needing to be 70 feet up or so. Taking down two such giants cost $6000 24 years ago. It would cost about $15000 today.

BTW, Photographic Film Really Was Not Much of a Performer.

 
Huge Eucalyptus, Circa 1992
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