[00:00.00]A powerful storm has brought down one of the most famous trees in the United States.
[00:08.83]The huge “Pioneer Cabin Tree” fell Sunday in northern California during a storm that caused severe flooding.
[00:21.36]The giant sequoia is famous for having a large hole at the bottom of its trunk.
[00:30.83]The hole was big enough for people to walk under.
[00:36.33]In the past, California state officials permitted vehicles to drive through it.
[00:44.39]Until now, thousands of people traveled to the Calaveras Big Trees State Park each year to see the giant sequoia.
[00:56.79]The park is located east of San Francisco, near Yosemite National Park.
[01:05.29]Some officials believed the tree was to up to 2,000 years old.
[01:11.87]The Calaveras Big Trees Association confirmed reports that the sequoia was no longer standing.
[01:21.56]“The Pioneer Cabin tree has fallen!” said a message posted to Facebook.
[01:29.08]The weekend storm was “just too much” for the tree to handle, it added.
[01:38.08]California’s Department of Parks and Recreation said in a statement that root and trunk decay had weakened the tree.
[01:50.96]That area around the sequoia had been closed because of storms and no one was hurt by the falling tree, it added.
[02:02.21]Photographs posted on social media showed the fallen tree broken apart in some places as it sat on top of flooded ground.
[02:14.39]The huge roots that kept the tree in the ground for so many years were showing.
[02:22.17]Many visitors to the state park took pictures while standing underneath the famous sequoia.
[02:30.75]After hearing about the tree,
[02:33.70]some posted photos and messages on social media about their memories and experiences.
[02:42.76]“It's kind of like someone in the family has died,” tree admirer Joyce Brown told the Associated Press.
[02:54.70]Brown, now 65, said she was just 12 when her parents first took her to see the “drive-thru tree.”
[03:05.91]She’s now a retired school teacher who spends about one-third of the year at a small cabin near the tree.
[03:15.68]The tunnel that made the sequoia famous also weakened it over time.
[03:23.53]The hole was made in the 1880s to let people and vehicles pass through the tree.
[03:32.93]This began with horses and buggies and later with cars.
[03:39.49]Eventually, the path going under the tree was only open to people walking.
[03:47.46]Sequoias are the largest tree species in the world.
[03:54.06]They can reach up to eight meters in diameter.
[03:59.52]A volunteer at the Calaveras Big Trees State Park explained that when the already mostly dead tree hit the ground,
[04:12.29]it broke apart and was completely unrecognizable.
[04:18.74]He said the tree quickly went from something "majestic" to pieces of “rubble."
[04:27.30]I’m Dorothy Gundy.