On Sunday morning as winds gusted over 55 mph and temperatures dipped down into the 20s, South Lake Tahoe residents Drew Stone and Haley Allgor were lying in bed when they heard a loud crack.
"I could see the silhouette of the tree and see that it was really, really moving," explained Stone. "We heard the noise and immediately knew what was happening."
Stone grabbed Allgor and rolled out of bed as a tree fell through the roof over their bed.
"It was practically snowing insulation on us," recalled Stone. "We got out of the room as fast as we could because at that time we could see clear through the roof."
With the front door wedged shut by the tree, the couple was forced to break through the screen of a window and crawl through.
Outside, they saw that large branches from the tree had landed on both of their cars.
"It totally flattened one and the other I believe is totaled as well," said Stone, who is unsure if insurance will cover the costs.
The Tahoe Vista Drive duplex was a rental, and Stone said he would have to find a new place to live in the meantime.
"We're trying to figure out everything as we go," he said. "We're just two people trying to make it in Tahoe and to have everything taken away in one swift blow — we'll do everything we can to get back on our feet."
South Lake Tahoe Fire and Rescue responded to the event and helped rescue a cat from the duplex and secure the downed power lines.
"Anytime we get cold temperatures then high winds we get a rash of trees down," said Battalion Chief Jim Drennan. "The trees are more brittle."
Drennan said the best thing a homeowner can do is have an arborist check the health of large trees that could pose a threat to nearby structures.
"They can determine which ones are alive and strong versus dead and weak," explained Drennan.
"And anytime there is a tree down near a power line be very cautious. Just because it's not bouncing around like you see in the movies doesn't mean [the power line] isn't live."
Strong winds are not in the immediate forecast for South Lake Tahoe, according to the National Weather Service. However, colder temperatures are expected through the remainder of the week, with lows in the teens and highs below freezing most days.
A slight to moderate chance of snow also is in the forecast through the rest of the week, including a 50 percent chance of snow showers on Thursday, according to the weather service.