Harsh winds hit South Shore | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Harsh winds hit South Shore

Isaac Brambila
A large tree damages the roof at Saint Theresa Thursday afteroon during strong wind conditions.
Mandy Feder/Tahoe Daily Tribune |

SOUTH SHORE — It was about 9 a.m. and Joan Mangelsdorf was in her kitchen when a loud boom echoed in her home and disoriented her momentarily. Roughly an hour-and-a-half later, she was still a little shaky and not entirely over the ordeal.

“I thought something blew up in the house,” Mangelsdorf said.

Soon after the loud crashing noise shook her home, Mangelsdorf noticed a large tree branch sticking about 20 inches out of her roof and within about 5 feet from her head.

The kitchen was covered in debris from the ceiling and a hole created a window in the roof that wasn’t there before, revealing a cloudy gray sky.

“It was like a spear,” she said.

It was only the smaller limbs that branched from the larger tree limb that stopped it from spearing completely through the roof, Mungelsdorf said.

“I can’t believe it’s only about 10:30 a.m. and already all this happened,” she said.

South Lake Tahoe Fire Department personnel worked on quick patchwork on the roof and checked on Mangelsdorf’s well-being.

Mangelsdorf’s ordeal came as high wind speeds were hitting the Tahoe area. In

South Lake Tahoe, speeds reached about 60 mph, but in areas surrounding the Tahoe Basin wind speeds exceeded 100 mph.

In Mount Lincoln the wind reached speeds of 135 mph while Alpine Meadows reached speeds of up to 112 mph and Gardnerville registered wind speeds of 93 mph.

Mangelsdorf’s call was only one of more than two dozen that crowded emergency services throughout town Thursday morning and into the early afternoon.

Around town, the streets were littered with branches, twigs, pine needles, pinecones and tumbling and floating trash. Traffic lights over the street bounced up and down and in some places they were out of order.

At Saint Theresa’s Catholic Church, a large tree came crashing down and caused considerable damage to the roof.

Denny’s customers watched as a tree swayed and eventually tipped over away from the building, ripping a piece of the lawn off the soil like old carpet.

A large tree that appeared to be healthy also fell in the meadow near Lake Tahoe Community College, Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District Public Information Officer Leona Allen said.

As of 2:30 p.m., dispatch had received 27 calls, 26 of them wind-related, Allen said. The calls mainly consisted of fallen trees and tree limbs as well as downed powerlines.

All of Meyers and most of South Lake Tahoe were without power for several hours as of press time. Most of Stateline had retained power.

The widespread power outages in town also forced the Lake Tahoe Unified School District to release all students from class, according to a LTUSD press release.

A person was also reportedly stuck for an extended period of time at LTCC.

In Alpine County, all phones and Internet were reportedly down and the dispatch operations had to be moved Douglas County, according to Allen.

Still, at Mangelsdorf’s home, the roof was temporarily patched, something that was done just in time, as it was beginning to rain, Mangelsdorf said.

“I’m very thankful for our firefighters,” she said. “We are lucky to have them.”

For emergency assistance call 9-1-1. For updates check the South Lake Tahoe website, the South Lake Tahoe Fire Department and the Lake Valley Fire Department Facebook pages.

Check the Tahoe Daily Tribune Facebook page and website for extended coverage.

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