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Cloudburst Drenches Spokane High Winds Knock Down Trees, Power Lines

MONDAY, JULY 3, 1995

When Rick Miner returns from a fishing trip in Montana, he’ll see the big one landed right on his house.

Amid sheets of rain and blasts of wind, a tree that had stood for more than 50 years fell over in Miner’s yard on East Kiernan.

The locust tree, about 60 feet tall, landed about 3 p.m. Sunday. There was no loud crash. Few neighbors heard the tree lean over onto Miner’s slanted gray roof. Later in the afternoon, it rested there, parallel to the steep roof.

“I thought we had a little earthquake,” neighbor Marsha Meyers said. “My word - it’s just right next to our house.”

The tree was one of several that fell near the 3800 block of North Division in a brief afternoon storm.

Winds reached speeds of up to 35 mph, and up to an inch and a half of rain fell in some areas of Spokane. In about an hour, the storm flooded 50 streets, contributed to car accidents that closed Interstate 90, and caused small mudslides and power outages across the area.

A 50-foot fir tree fell on the corner of Providence and Normandie, knocking down a power pole and lines. City crews worked to remove the tree, and Washington Water Power crews worked to restore power. More than 20 homes and businesses lost power between the 3400 and 3800 blocks surrounding Division.

Police responded to Division and Empire, where a traffic light went out. The wind knocked in a plate glass window at Jim Dandy Donuts, 3817 N. Division.

A tree fell into a power line in the 3300 block of East 19th Avenue.

Another tree fell near Argonne and Liberty and partially blocked the road.

There were power outages throughout the area, mainly on the North Side and on the South Hill, said Susan Nielsen, a spokeswoman for WWP.

There were two accidents on Interstate 90 west of downtown about 3:30 p.m. One accident involved five cars, and the other involved four cars.

The only injury reported was a woman with neck pain. The accidents blocked eastbound I-90 for about 30 minutes.

Near the fallen tree in Miner’s yard, some neighbors reported losing their phone service.

Neighbors said the wind was blowing so hard about 3 p.m. that they feared their windows would break.

One branch from Miner’s yard was blown two houses down, where it lodged in a chain-link fence.

Two other large branches fell in Miner’s front yard, near the tree. The tree pulled up a large chunk of grass and dirt with it, feet away from Meyers’ home.

The tree didn’t appear to cause significant damage to Miner’s home. Although the leaning tree is an inconvenience, it probably won’t devastate Miner, neighbors said.

He was planning on trimming his trees and possibly getting rid of the one that fell.

“Rick wanted to turn it into a totem pole anyway,” Meyers said. “It’s sort of a blessing in disguise.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo

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