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Anniversary of the wind storm that brought down the 200-feet Sitka spruce

Wednesday, December 2nd 2020, 5:00 am - On December 2, 2007, a 200-year old Sitka spruce was irrevocably damaged by an aggressive wind storm.

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It's hard to get mad at Mother Nature when she destroys some of nature, but this one stung.

On December 2, 2007, there was a wind storm in Astoria, Oregon. Gusts of wind surpassed 100 km/h. One resident of the area, The Klootchy Creek Giant, would not make it through the storm.

The Klootchy Creek Giant is the largest Sitka spruce in the United States, the biggest tree in Oregon, and one of the oldest living things in the state.

Largest tree sign

The spruce was 200 feet tall, had a 17 feet diameter, a 56-foot circumference, its crown spread 93 feet, and it is estimated to be between 500 and 750 years old.

Before destroyed tree

The demise of the giant wasn't exclusively caused by this event. However, this was certainly the tipping point.

In 1956, a bolt of lightning struck the tree leaving a scar down the trunk. The scar healed, but the tree didn't fully recover.

In 2006, a wind storm caused rotted wood to fall from the tree.

And finally, in 2007, the wind storm caused the tree to snap at the 75-foot mark.

In 2011, the Parks Department had to chop off another 40 feet of the tree as the section was rotten and falling debris was becoming a hazard to visitors.
After destroyed tree

The Klootchy Creek Giant still remains, albeit as a shorter stature. The fallen sections of the tree have also remained to act as nurse logs for future Klootchy Creek giants.

The Klootchy Creek Giant also lives on as a poem by Cheryl Koko Koomoa. Here's a sample of the ballad:

About the year 1215, by a well traveled path, Aule and Yvanna planted an enchanted spruce tree
as a landmark for sojourners on their way North, an enchanting rainforest from mountains to sea

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by The Weather Network that features unique and informative stories from host Chris Mei.

Thumbnail credit: M.D. Vaden

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