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Strong Winds Topple National Christmas Tree Near White House Ahead of Lighting Ceremony

The National Christmas Tree, a cut Norway spruce that was placed in President’s Park near the White House earlier this month, was knocked over on Tuesday due to powerful winds in the D.C. area.

Despite the tree toppling over, the 101st lighting ceremony for the tree on Thursday is still scheduled to take place. The tradition of lighting the national Christmas tree began with former President Calvin Coolidge in 1923.

“As the saying goes, ‘the show must go on’ and the NPS and our event partners are looking at all possibilities to ensure a successful event this year,” a National Park Service spokesperson told CBS News.

The national tree fell at around 1 p.m., but it was returned to an upright position by around 6 p.m. after a snapped cable was replaced.

Wind speeds at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport were 17 mph northwest with gusts up to 32 mph at around 12:52 p.m. An hour later, the wind reached its peak, with westward winds blowing at 25 mph and gusts of up to 40 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

While NPS has typically used a planted tree since 1973, a cut spruce was used this year due to time constraints after the previous tree caught a fungal disease affecting its needles, according to park officials.

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