High Winds Cause National Christmas Tree to Fall in Front of White House during Holiday Season

The National Christmas Tree toppled over on Tuesday amid high winds

About 5 p.m., the tree was on its side with its lights still on. A crane loomed over the tree, behind a white picket fence. Authorities prevented bystanders and media from approaching the scene.

The National Park Service did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and no further information about the incident was immediately available.

The tree came down as Arctic air poured into the Washington region, bringing the coldest weather since March. Winds frequently gusted over 30 mph Tuesday afternoon, with a maximum gust of 43 mph at Reagan National Airport.

Such winds aren’t particularly unusual in November. On average, the District sees 1 to 2 days with wind gusts over 40 mph each November, about 12 such days each year. A Capital Weather Gang analysis published in 2022 showed the frequency of days with high wind gusts has increased somewhat over the past 15 years.

Since the 1970s, National Christmas trees have not been displayed in tree stands but planted on the Ellipse. Some have met bad ends, including one that fell off a truck and one that died of transplant shock.

At least three National Christmas trees have been felled by wind, including one in 2011 that blew over.

The tree that fell Tuesday was planted just two weeks ago to replace another tree, planted in 2021, that had developed a fungal disease.

This is a developing story and will be updated.


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