Giant balls of tumbleweeds are invading California neighborhoods and trapping residents in their homes. The people of Victorville, a neighborhood located about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles, woke up to an invasion of tumbleweeds that even reached up to the second story of some homes prompting them to call 911 for help.
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A local resident named Tanya Speight said, "Normally you get a few flying down the street or whatnot, but never this many that will stack up even this much, and this is mild compared to what it was actually in the backyard and in the front of the house. So no, it’s never been this bad."
Luckily, the city's code enforcement dispatched trucks to handle the invasion of tumbleweeds and free residents from their homes. Invasions of tumbleweeds aren't unheard of, especially when dry weather and high winds are present. Victorville recently experienced 60 mph wind gusts that brought on the torrent of tumbleweeds.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Victorville neighborhood overrun by tumbleweeds! <a href="https://twitter.com/CBSLA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CBSLA</a> <a href="https://t.co/pFzxZIIIQ4">pic.twitter.com/pFzxZIIIQ4</a></p>— Tina Patel (@tina_patel) <a href="https://twitter.com/tina_patel/status/986076306587578368?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 17, 2018</a></blockquote>
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"With the winds as strong as they are, as soon as they clear certain areas, more tumbleweeds are blowing right back in," city spokeswoman Sue Jones said. The tumbleweeds come from a ground plant called Russian thistle that blows around when it dries up. The Russian thistle is an invasive species brought by Russian immigrants to South Dakota in 1873.
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"After its introduction, it spread by contaminated seed, threshing crews, railroad cars (especially livestock cars) and by its windblown pattern of seed dissemination," Jones added. "We’re not exactly sure how many homes are affected, but we’re estimating about 100 to 150 homes in that area." Since its introduction, Russian thistle has spread to around 100 million acres.
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