Victorville, located about 60 miles northeast of Los Angeles, has been invaded by the wind-blown objects. Footage shows the weeds tumbling down the streets and stacking up against homes, forming two-story mounds that blocked some residents inside. Many had to call 911 for help.
“We’re not exactly sure how many homes are affected, but we’re estimating about 100 to 150 homes in that area,” city spokeswoman Sue Jones told the Victorville Daily Press.
“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,” resident Tanya Speight told KABC. “So no, it’s never been this bad.”
The city’s code enforcement has dispatched trucks to haul away the tumbleweeds.
“It seems like every time we get the tumbleweeds cleared up, the wind blows and blows them right back again,” real estate broker Bryan Bagwell told the Washington Post. “It’s a nasty nightmare.”
Tumbleweed invasions aren’t unheard of, especially when dry weather mixes with high winds, such as the 60 mph gusts that hit Victorville this week.
“With the winds as strong as they are, as soon as they clear certain areas, more tumbleweeds are blowing right back in,” Jones said.
Tumbleweeds are the result of a ground plant called Russian thistle that’s dried up and blown off. According to the University of California’s Integrated Pest Management Program, Russian thistle is an invasive species brought by Russian immigrants to South Dakota in 1873.
“After its introduction, it spread by contaminated seed, threshing crews, railroad cars (especially livestock cars) and by its windblown pattern of seed dissemination,” the program said.
Russian thistle has since spread to some 100 million acres.
Lonely tumbleweed can sometimes be seen, as in Old West movies, rolling down roads. But every now and then, they seem to take over a city. Eagle Mountain, Utah, is also battling a tumbleweed invasion so severe that the city had to create a drop-off site for residents to bring their troublesome tumbleweeds, KUTV in Salt Lake City reported.