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National Christmas Tree toppled by strong winds near White House

A strong gust of wind toppled the National Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C.'s President's Park on Tuesday afternoon, just days before the annual lighting ceremony, the National Park Service said. 

"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," the park service said after the tree toppled over.

White House Christmas Tree
In this image taken from video, the National Christmas Tree hangs from a crane in front of the White House as a crew works to lift it back up after it fell on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023, amid high winter winds. / AP

A crane was in place on Tuesday evening to try and lift the already-decorated tree, CBS affiliate WUSA-TV reported. The tree, which fell around 1 p.m., was upright again as of 6 p.m., according to the Park Service. The tree's condition was evaluated and a snapped cable was replaced.

Winds were forecast to blow at up to 20 miles per hour in the area on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. 

This wasn't the first time the nation's 'first tree' was felled by gusts. Heavy winds also toppled the 42-foot National Christmas Tree in 2011.

This year's tree was already replaced once, after the tree originally planted for the ceremony developed a fungus, WUSA-TV reported. A wide variety of diseases target Christmas trees, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony tradition began on Christmas Eve in 1923. 

President Biden, the first lady, Vice President Kamala Harris and the second gentleman are scheduled to attend the ceremony for this year's tree lighting on Thursday, Nov. 30. CBS is scheduled to broadcast a National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony special on Dec. 15.

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