LAKE FOREST PARK, Wash. – A fallen tree and power lines forced the closure of State Route 522 at NE 165th Street in Lake Forest Park for hours Tuesday. The highway finally reopened just before 9 p.m.
The tree fell at about 4:30 p.m., during the height of rush hour. No one was injured, but the commute on the highway came to a standstill.
Steve Santamaria estimated it took him two and a half hours to drive from Ballard to Carnation.
Other drivers decided to ditch their cars and walk several blocks home as road and power crews worked to clean up the fallen tree and power lines.
Tree experts believe that hot, dry conditions could be big factors in trees recently toppling over. They said with hot temperatures, the trees need more water. However, the dry conditions haven’t provided that.
Seattle Department of Transportation officials speculated hot and dry conditions were to blame for a 75-foot tree falling onto a car in Lake City just a few days ago and possibly another tree on Westlake Avenue this past weekend.
Those who live among the tall trees in Lake Forest Park say they’re concerned.
“It’s scary because if it’s due to dry conditions, I think we’re in for more of this and Lake Forest Park is proud of being on the lake and all of its trees, but there may be more of this,” said Lynda Humphrey, who lives on SR 522, just a few feet from where the tree fell Tuesday.
Homes immediately around the power lines are the only ones believed to have lost electricity. about