Heavy Rain Carries Unexpected Risks

Storm preparations might seem unnecessary in a city that sees little downpour, but thinking it wont happen could be fatal.

More rain is expected Tuesday and Wednesday, and with rain comes the potential for flooding and downed trees. For one family in the Bird Rock area of La Jolla, that warning came too late.

Liz Sauer was leaving her brother's house Sunday night when she said she heard what sounded like firecrackers. As she peeked around the corner, she saw a three-story tall eucalyptus tree coming right at her.

"I just braced myself for impact and just prayed that this awning was going to hold," Liz said. Thankfully, her cover held.

The home's owner, Leslie Sauer, said she thought the loud noise she heard outside was an earthquake or a car crashing into her house.

"It was something I had nightmares about," she said.

[SD] Storm Damage Images

Apparently Leslie and her family have had concerns about the tree since before they moved in. She said they tried negotiating with the seller to have it removed, but it was growing on city property.

"So then I started writing letters...and each time I got no response or they'd come trim it," Leslie said.

The city is now helping with the removal of the tree that nearly killed her sister-in-law, as well as working with her insurance company to cover the cost of damages, but the experience still has her shaken up.

"The unnerving part for me is we really were afraid of the tree," she said. "Not being experts, we were deferred to the people who assessed us and reassured us, but the fact that we can't hang our hat on that reassurance is so unnerving."

Local tree trimmers suggest pruning trees that are close to homes, especially eucalyptus. Because they have shallow roots, these trees are especially fragile and tip easily.

Damages from storms are common, but being prepared is key. Sandbags are usually available in various areas throughout the county and having trees prepared for the rain could save the headache of homeowner insurance claims down the road.

Storm preparations might seem unnecessary in a city that sees little downpour, but thinking it won't happen could be fatal.

For more information on preparing for the rain and winds, click here.

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