Wind, frosty weather causing accidents, outages
Icy conditions and wind were causing numerous accidents and power failures around the Inland Northwest on Monday morning.
A multiple-vehicle accident on Interstate 90 near the state line blocked westbound lanes with authorities reporting icy conditions. That was reported clear around 7:20 a.m.
Trees and power lines also were reported down across Burnett Road, near Four Mound Road, in northwest Spokane County. Trees were reported down and blocking traffic on Murphy Road at Jensen Road, near Cheney, and on Short Road between Owens and Burroughs roads in northwest Spokane County, the Spokane Police Department said. Newport Highway north of Riverside is reportedly icy as well.
At 7 a.m., Avista Utilities was reporting about 2,000 customers without power in areas ranging from Spokane’s South Hill (450 households) to Sandpoint (more than 1,400 without power).
The National Weather Service says gusty winds should persist through the day in Eastern Washington, bringing the possibility of blowing dust that could reduce visibility for drivers. Gusts were recorded of 39 mph at Othello, 46 mph at Spokane and 47 mph at Wenatchee.
Back in Idaho, seven people were injured when the Ford Excursion they were riding in slid on icy roads, flipped over and landed in a creek. The accident temporarily blocked the northbound lanes of U.S. Highway 95 at Cocolalla starting around 6 a.m., the Idaho State Police reported.
Sage G. Dixon, 44, was driving south on Highway 95 when he attempted to pass another vehicle and lost control. He was injured, along with six others: Veronica Dixon, 45; Aidan Dixon, 16, Abigail Dixon, 15, Andra Dixon, 13, Asher Dixon, 12 and Alanna Dixon, 12. All were wearing seat belts and none were taken to the hospital, a news release from the ISP said.
Forecasters say the winds today will be followed by mostly clear skies that will drop temperatures. Lows in Eastern Washington this week are forecast to be in the 20s.