Lessons of 'Arborgeddon'

There's a part of us that secretly likes disasters. Well, maybe not so secretly. That's why Joan Didion's famous riff on the Santa Ana winds — "the weather of catastrophe, of apocalypse" — is hauled out several times a year to explain what L.A. is all about. It's our rep and we stand by it.

We chafe when our calamities are overshadowed by hurricanes in Miami or tornadoes in Joplin. So there was a thrill of recognition when the Nov. 30 windstorm added a new motif to our disaster portfolio: not just earthquakes, fires and mudslides — the possibility of a tree apocalypse.

PHOTOS: Santa Ana wind cause extensive damage

The cleanup is still in the triage phase, and damage estimates are sketchy. But it's clear that thousands of trees, from native oaks to exotic pines, were destroyed in the freakily frigid Santa Ana blow.

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Winds blow in business to hotels, auto shops, insurance agents

Locals pitch in for post-storm clean-up

-- Gale Holland, Los Angeles Times

Photo: A tree that damaged a van in Highland Park provides quite a sight for Charius Holland, 9, (no relation to the columnist) and Kevin Scott, 13, earlier this month after a freak windstorm that felled countless trees in a portion of the L.A. Basin. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times / December 1, 2011

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