It's almost like visiting a ghost town in an old Western. Or revisiting a farmstead during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Needless to say, it's not likely the folks of Victorville, California are likely to pick up the guitars and sing along to that old Sons of the Pioneers chestnut "Tumblin' Tumbleweeds."
For starters, residents are too darn busy with pitchforks, rakes, or anything else that can get those tumbleweeds outta Dodge. Thanks to a succession of wind guts, those nasty orbs of dried organic matter have invaded the town by the hundreds. It's as if the pods and triffids in those Grade-B sci-fi flicks of yesteryear have occupied the town to the point where they're a Weed Whacker's nightmare.
Not to mention scary enough for some folks to call 911 for assistance. In some parts of town, some tumbleweeds have piled as high as two storeys, blown by wind gusts and bonded together by the very prickly weeds that helped form those bucolic bales. One town spokesperson reported that since Monday, up to 150 homes have been besieged by the growing mounds of tumbleweeds. In response, the city has mobilized a fleet of trash trucks to remove them.
But it's not easy. Even after getting rid of them, the High Desert winds, at speeds of nearly 60 mph, blow in another fresh batch for the town to contend with. One neighbourhood on the edge of town is especially vulnerable to this invasion of vegetation as it borders a desert that lacks any protection from the elements.
The situation is so serious that the town's Public Works, Code Enforcement and Community Services divisions have also asked for help from waste removal companies in the area as well as the San Bernardino County Fire Department. A spokesperson said that even with that assistance, crews are still working overtime to get rid of the tumbleweeds and ensure residents can return safely to all homes affected.
As long as those desert winds keep blowing in those weedy pests into Victorville, it will likely remain an around-the-clock battle. But for anyone wanting an idea to pitch for a new sci-fi movie that doesn't involve sharknados, this story might interest Hollywood producers.