Windstorm wreaks havoc in North Idaho, leaving residents to pick up the pieces

COUER d’ALENE, Idaho — Winds ripped out trees and slammed them into homes in Coeur D’Alene Wednesday morning.  The 911 call center was overwhelmed; there were more than 400 calls for service.

In the Fort Grounds neighborhood on just one street alone there were two massive trees blocking Military Dr. Some trees hitting homes almost destroying them completely, other barely missing.  Residents say it is a miracle no one was killed there.

When 4 News Now arrived in the morning, private crews were already busy trying to cut through some of the trees that were laying in the middle of the street. A red vintage truck lay beneath it, crushed from the sheer weight of the Ponderosa Pine. Just walking around the surrounding neighborhood it was a similar sight, vehicles destroyed and branches inside houses.  Residents reported waking to the sounds of trees falling everywhere.

“Jumped out of bed and came over and opened the door and you couldn’t see the street. A tree had fallen and it was just completely covered, took down part of the front porch,” said Sherry Galvan.

Another woman recalled watching a tree come crashing down into the house.

“It was like in slow motion. My husband was outside and I was kind of looking out the window and it just went down so slow and that was it,” said Tally Althem, who has lived there for 37 years.

Power was out in much of the city before even the sun was up creating a eerie feeling for those who went through it.

“The lights were off down the street, the houses were dark, there wasn’t anybody outside and then you would hear cracks of trees going down,” said Althem.

Residents say many of the Ponderosa Trees were old, and mixed with the recent moisture in the ground from melting snow and rain, it was the perfect storm.