May 20, 2010 in City

Storm cuts off power to many

Crews kept busy to fight fires, unblock roadways
By The Spokesman-Review
 

Police and fire crews scrambled Wednesday night to dozens of reports of downed power lines and trees caused by a storm that swept across Eastern Washington and North Idaho.

Wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour were reported in some areas, along with heavy rain and lightning.

The storm moved into Spokane around 8 p.m., as Pacific storm systems moved east off the Oregon Coast. Two hours earlier, Grant County officials said a tornado touched down near Moses Lake, damaging a horse barn.

In Spokane County, a fire in trees, likely caused by downed power lines on Mount Spokane Park Drive, was reportedly threatening Chaney’s Bottoms-Up Inn and Restaurant, south of the entrance to the state park, about 9:30 p.m.

Spokane city fire crews were responding to dozens of calls for downed power lines, as were Spokane County fire district crews. Crews were responding to North Gibson Road in Deer Park after a tree fell across two residences, dispatchers said.

The Spokane Fire District said 67 calls were dispatched from the time the storm began until 10 p.m.

As the storm moved into Kootenai County, dispatchers reported downed power lines and trees. Bozanta Drive, near the Hayden Lake Country Club, was completely blocked by a downed tree. Idaho State Department of Transportation officials were responding to reports of road signs blowing over roadways.

Avista reported scattered power outages through Eastern Washington, with more than 3,400 customers without power by 10 p.m., including nearly 1,800 in Pullman.

Meanwhile, forecasters said there was a chance of frost in exposed valley locations of northeast Washington and North Idaho. The chill could bring frost to the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas.

However, forecasts issued on Wednesday afternoon showed lows of 35 to 36 degrees from tonight through Sunday morning in Spokane.

Highs may only reach the upper 50s today through Saturday, with chances of showers each day. Tender garden plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and squash might need protection, as well as annual flowers such as impatiens and begonias.


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