SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco's department of public works crews have been busy working to tend to trees that have been damaged by two weeks of stormy weather.
Crews tell KTVU they've been working long days and taking advantage of breaks in the storms like on Thursday to get as much work done as possible.
Weeks of intense rain and wind have felled more than a thousand trees and tree branches around San Francisco. Tree crews have been rushing from one tree to the next, putting in long days, pulling down trees that endanger the public.
"They've been probably the worst storms that I've ever seen in tree work, with so many trees going down and limb failures and tree failures, stuff like that," said Drew Landers from SFDPW.
Years of drought has already weakened trees, and the rainy, windy storms that have rolled though the Bay Area since the new year have brought them down. "The roots aren't as strong when they've been through drought and then when we have super-saturation of the soil, so this is when we've had so much water coming into the soil there's literally no where else for it to go, then the roots actually lose their hold on the soil," said Carla Short from SFDPW.
City arborists say voter passed Proposition E in 2016 allocating funds dedicated to tree maintenance is paying off now. For the past five years crews have identified and pruned, and in some dire cases, removed trees to prevent disaster. "We lost even more trees and limbs with important, but smaller storms, and I think one of the things we're seeing, while we do have trees down everywhere, I think it could have been a lot worse," said Short.
Now crews are preparing for the next round of storms bearing down on the city, and the likelihood that the days ahead will look just as busy as the days behind. "We're just doing the best we can with what we have. I'm just so proud of this team," said Landers. "I mean, they've been working pretty much around the clock since New Years."
Trees on the sidewalk and along the curb are a common sight around San Francisco. Those crews have been so busy triaging and rushing to the next major incident all they have time to do in many cases is clear the scene to make sure that it's safe, then go on to the next scene. They say rest assured, they know about these trees and limbs that are down, and say that it may take two to four weeks to clear them up.