‘Nasty Nightmare’: Tumbleweed overruns city, residents unable to leave homes

April 20th, 2018
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A city in California is being taken over—by tumbleweeds.

The high winds in Southern California led to a #Tumbleweed takeover Victorville (📽️: James Quigg/@VVDailyPress) pic.twitter.com/YUAkqlEm33

— Nick Dobis (@NickKPIX) April 17, 2018

Some residents of Victorville, California were trapped inside their homes earlier this week after a huge amount of tumbleweed filled their streets and stacked up against the walls, doors, and windows of their houses. Many had to call 911 for help.

“We have received several calls and we’re aware of the problems with tumbleweeds there, primarily in Mesa Street area,” spokeswoman Sue Jones told the Victorville Daily Press. “We’re not exactly sure how many homes are affected, but we’re estimating about 100 to 150 homes in that area.”

Jones also stated that it wasn’t the first time the neighborhood faced a tumbleweed problem, given that it is flanked by essentially nothing but open desert to the east and south. But while it can be considered a normal phenomena in the area, residents believe that it’s “never been this bad” before.

“Normally you get a few flying down the street or whatnot, but never this many that will stack up even this much. So no, it’s never been this bad,” city resident Tanya Speight told ABC 7.

“Yesterday I can’t even stand here in my garage. There was like a hundred of these bushes. They were just flowing like it was a tornado,” another resident said.

Would whoever keeps telling awful jokes please stop. #Victorville #Tumbleweed pic.twitter.com/NLbwSB26ga

— Kristian Prevc (@KristianPrevc) April 18, 2018

Tumbleweed takeover: High winds leave neighborhood overrun @cityofvv @DPPhotoTeam @DP_PaolaBaker https://t.co/Pd43felrOx pic.twitter.com/7mPhMKL4Gv

— Daily Press (@VVDailyPress) April 17, 2018

The city government has dispatched trucks to help the residents clear up the tumbleweeds, but the strong winds make it a difficult, frustrating battle.

“It seems like every time we get the tumbleweeds cleared up, the wind blows and blows them right back again,” Victorville local Bryan Bagwell told the Washington Post. “It’s a nasty nightmare.”

Tumbleweed, also known as the Russian thistle, is an invasive weed thought to have been brought to the U.S. in the 1870s by Russian immigrants. Once the plant matures, it breaks off at ground level and tumbles with the wind in order to spread seeds. And while the hay-like bouncy balls may look harmless, they are actually full of thorny spines that scratch and irritate the skin. Large collections of the weed, like what has invaded Victorville, are also potential fire hazards.

Tumbleweed invasions have happened in various areas of the United States. Just this week, residents of West Jordan, Utah also had to deal with the same thorny problem.

After cleaning up the mess in Victorville, residents have been busy prepping for yet another bout of strong winds that would most likely bring more tumbleweed into their community.

“It is what it is,” a resident said. “The next day comes and from there we go on through the same routine again.”


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