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Tragedy avoided: Large tree falls during Dogwood Festival

No one injured as mammoth oak falls 10 feet from a couple on a day when tens of thousands were visiting Piedmont Park.

The strong winds that helped fell a large water oak tree in Piedmont Park Sunday will continue to gust on Monday as there is a wind advisory in effect from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.

With tens of thousands attending the Atlanta Dogwood Festival at Piedmont Park on Sunday, a magnificent oak was toppled in the Oak Hill section of the park where many people were going to and from the festival, posing for pictures and playing Frisbee.

According to Midtown resident Steve Gower, the tree fell about 10 feet from where a couple was relaxing and enjoying the day. Fortunately no one was injured during the incident.

“I was walking home and saw it happen - it sounded like the world was coming to an end,’’ wrote Gower in an email. “With the thousands of people in the park for the festival, it was a wonder that nobody was under that tree when it came down.”

Check out Gower’s photos of Sunday’s tree falling accompanying this article. See pictures here of the 76th Atlanta Dogwood Festival.

Water oaks typically live between 80 and 90 years and it was about a century ago that many were planted in and around Midtown and Atlanta. Last year, the city began a pilot program to count and assess the health of the 9,000-plus tress that line Atlanta’s streets and parks.

City arborists will order the removal of certain diseased tress, but there are times when trees will come down with no advance warning on a beautiful spring day.

“Spontaneous tree fallings happen from time to time,” wrote Gower. “The last one I recall took place on a Friday afternoon on 10th Street - perfect weather and all. Out of the blue a big oak tree fell over - the tree falling and the transformer sizzling was quite a sound to hear.”

As Sunday, nobody was hurt in that incident. But with winds gusts expected up to 35 miles per hour Monday, here’s a friendly reminder to stay alert around these mammoth beauties today.

Are you concerned about Midtown trees falling during storms and periods of high winds?

Nicholas Wolaver April 24, 2012 at 01:19 PM
A similar incident occured at the Atlanta Dogwood Festival in 1998 or 1999 when a large tree toppled in similar weather. Anyone remember that one?

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