Powerful winds up to 110 miles per hour swept through Yosemite National Park in California last week, felling hundreds of trees, crushing homes, and knocking out power to more than 300,000 buildings.
The strong "Mono" winds were caused by sharp contrasts in air pressure that caused air to race down west slopes of the Sierra Nevada, building enough force to cause significant damage. Usual Mono winds range from 40 to 50 miles per hour, with events like the one last week occurring every decade or so.
"Our crews are finding trees blocking roads, trees into houses and other damage that is far more serious than we would normally see from a winter storm where branches or other debris might damage power lines, but not entire trees," said PG&E spokesperson Denny Boyles.
One camper – a U.S. Army veteran – called it "100 times worse" than the Afghanistan War and referred to the scene as a "total war zone."
A local resident said it was "like a bomb went off" when describing how a tree went through the bedroom of her rental property where guests were staying.
Yosemite National Park was originally expected to reopen on Tuesday, but authorities have said it will remain closed until further notice.