Storm snaps trees throughout South Shore |

Storm snaps trees throughout South Shore

A powerful storm that gripped the Lake Tahoe Basin early Thursday brought more than traces of rain and snow with it.

At least four trees toppled onto homes and cars during the storm’s fiercest moments, startling homeowners out of bed over Mother Nature’s fury.

“It was an unbelievable sound. It shook the house worse than an earthquake,” said Tom Honeycutt, who woke up to the sound of a 75-foot Tamarack pine landing onto his Clemente Street rooftop.

With wind gusts reportedly reaching speeds of 70 to 100 mph, the tree snapped at around 2:15 a.m., landing on the roof and then rolling onto a fence and dog run. With the attic smashed and the interior walls buckled, damage to the home was extensive.

Nearby neighbors who heard the tree fall, came out to see if Honeycutt and his wife, Eileen, were all right

“We were lucky because it happened on the opposite side of the house,” he said.

Dan Oaks, who lives on lower Kingsbury got a call about about 3:15 a.m. from neighbors who live across from his parents’ Tahoe Keys home, reporting that a Jeffrey pine had snapped and fallen onto the roof.

Oak’s parents, who live in the home four months out of the year, were not home at the time. With the attic caved in, the impact of the tree also caused several holes throughout the exterior of the kitchen and master bedroom.

“There’s a lot of structural damage but the extent of it, I’m not sure,” Oaks said.

Tossing and turning because of the storm, Cathy Navarrete and her husband Jose were somewhere between being awake and asleep when they heard their 80-foot pine tree snap, followed by a crash at about 3 a.m.

“It sounded like one of those machines that split wood, only a lot louder,” Cathy Navarrete said. “I looked outside and the tree that was in our yard was in our neighbors’.”

That tree smashed two cars belonging to neighbor Luis Ramirez.

The trees, which demolished the cars, along with some fence, missed both of the houses by only a few feet. Cathy Navarrete said she’s just glad no one was hurt.

“I feel really lucky right now. It sounds crazy but God must have come down and stopped this tree from coming into both of our houses.”

In all, South Lake Tahoe and El Dorado County authorities confirmed that at least four homes were damaged by falling trees or tree limbs, causing thousands of dollars in damage.

— Jeff Munson can be reached at

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