The University of Maryland, College Park closed for the day amid a powerful windstorm, campus officials announced Friday.
That’s a good thing, too. The high-speed gusts knocked over a massive tree on the campus’ McKeldin Mall — an area usually filled with students walking to and from class.
The tree, one of many iconic oaks lining the mall, snapped at its base, its thick branches sprawling across the sidewalk below. The tree is located between Woods and Marie Mount Hall.
A high wind warning is in effect across the state for what the National Weather Service is calling “one of the most powerful windstorms in recent years.”
Winds of over 30 mph are expected, including gusts of 60 to 70 mph starting early Friday morning.
More than 65,000 Marylanders were without power as of 8:00 a.m.
University spokeswoman Katie Lawson said the oak tree that fell was likely between 90 and 95 years old — and it could have lived another 50 years.
“All trees on campus are monitored on a continuous basis to gauge their health and whether attention is needed,” she said. “When we lose a tree at this stage of maturity, we typically take the opportunity to replace it during a celebratory tree planting ceremony on Arbor Day.”