WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Christmas Tree in front of the White House fell down Tuesday afternoon amid high winter winds.
The tree, a 40-foot Norway spruce from West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest, had been planted just two weeks ago on the White House Ellipse, an area known as President’s Park. According to the National Park Service, it fell over around 1 p.m. Tuesday amid heavy wind gusts that reached as high at 46 mph at nearby Reagan National Airport.
NPS spokeswoman Jasmine Shanti said in an email that after “replacing a snapped cable,” the tree was back upright by 6 p.m. Tuesday.
The lighting of the tree is an annual White House holiday tradition with a countdown and musical performances. This year’s tree is a new one, replacing an older tree that, according to NPS, developed a fungal disease known as “needle cast” that caused its needles to turn brown and fall off.
The tree was scheduled to be lit Thursday, but there was no indication from the White House whether Tuesday’s incident will delay that. The Christmas tree outside the U.S. Capitol building was lit successfully Tuesday.