This is the story from the western part of Monmouth county. What you're looking at is the root system (from the bottom) of the blue spruce from my neighbor's yard that fell into my pool. There are literally hundreds just like it within a mile or two of my house. I had a total of 7 trees that required attention, and this was in the middle of the size range. The trunk was about 30 inches in diameter, and it stood about 100 feet tall. It had fallen over my fence (behind me in the photo), through some shrubbery, and eventually through the cover over my pool.
When my brother and I cut it away from the fence, the part you see in the photo dropped back into it's hole so fast that it was terrifying (in retrospect at least) and it left a 7 foot tall perfectly vertical stump where you see me standing. Had a full grown man been sitting on the tree when we finished the cut, he would have been tossed 'trebuchet' like across my neighbor's back yard. We figure he'd have gone at least 40 feet or so. And if he had been standing where I am in this photo, he'd have 20,000 lbs of wet earth on top of him, and be dead. There would be nothing to do put put a up a headstone.
In case you haven't figured it out, we got power back late last night. And as much as my area looks like the Tunguska event (an Ikaika line stolen from an email on Wednesday), we're already mostly recovered from it - which is more than most can say. My brother's great line was that the only thing still standing on the Seaside Heights boardwalk are those three milk bottles you have to knock over with a ball to win a prize. The rest is sand and decimation.
Here's another horror story. A few doors down from him in rural Somerset county, a man had a portable generator in his garage. He spilled some gas on the exhaust which caught fire immediately. This caused him to drop the 5 gallon gas can, which spilled into his garage and also caught fire. And in 15 minutes the entire structure was ablaze. There was no cell service or phones so they couldn't call the fire department. And by the time they finally arrived an hour later, there was nothing left but a foundation, a chimney and ash. they lost every single solitary thing they own including both cars. No passports, no checkbooks, no credit cards ... nothing. All they have now is the clothes on their back. Not only are they homeless, they're now totally undocumented as well.
After stories like that I'll cut down (or cut up) trees all day long.