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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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In Brief: Cold front expected to kick up strong winds in Inland Northwest

From Staff And Wire Reports

A lot of colorful autumn leaves are going to be falling this weekend.

A potent cold front headed for the Inland Northwest is expected to kick up strong winds across the region, with gusts to 40 or 50 mph on Saturday night.

The National Weather Service on Friday issued a wind advisory from 8 p.m. Saturday through 3 p.m. Sunday. Sustained southwest winds of 20 to 30 mph will be accompanied by the higher gusts.

Forecasters warned drivers of high-profile rigs to use caution during the storm.

In Spokane, the forecast calls for sustained winds of 18 to 28 mph with gusts to 39 mph on Saturday night. On Sunday, winds will subside a little, but gusts may still reach 30 mph.

Coeur d’Alene should see gusts to 28 mph on Saturday night and 32 mph on Sunday.

Rain showers are expected with the cold front.

Voter registration closes Monday

Potential voters wishing to cast a ballot in the Nov. 4 generation election have until Monday to register with the county elections office.

The office at 1033 W. Gardner Ave. will be open Monday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for those wishing to register. Online and by-mail registration already had closed for this year’s election.

The county Auditor’s Office began mailing more than 250,000 ballots this week.

For more information about the registration process, call the elections office at (509) 477-2320 or visit en/pages/home.aspx.

Longview tallies tornado damage

LONGVIEW, Wash. – The southwest Washington city of Longview tallied the damage Friday from a rare tornado that tore off roofs, broke windows and uprooted trees, leaving residents and officials in disbelief.

No one was injured in the Thursday afternoon wind blast, which covered 1.3 miles and unleashed winds as high as 110 mph, the National Weather Service said.

Tornadoes are rare in Washington state and the Pacific Northwest, where the nearby Pacific Ocean generally prevents severe temperature changes. But another one hit southwest Washington in 1972 and caused damage in Vancouver, just across the Columbia River from Portland.

The Rev. Eric Atcheson said he saw the funnel cloud form and touch down near his church. He barely made it inside before the wind tore through an alley between two church buildings.

“There is a preschool in the building, so I was able to make sure all our kids and teachers are safe,” he said.

Roofs were torn off an assisted-living building and a towing company structure, the Daily News of Longview reported.

At Manchester Brothers appliance and sporting goods store, a large piece of roof from another building crashed through a store window and pushed a row of refrigerators about a foot from where they had been sitting.

After the roof section blew through, “it was just absolutely howling. It was deafening,” Ian McNew told KATU-TV. “That’s when we took cover.”

No one in the store was hurt.

Work to rescue Bertha stopped

SEATTLE – Workers have stopped digging the pit to rescue the stalled boring machine for a tunnel under downtown Seattle.

The state Transportation Department said work stopped Thursday so archeologists can check out “shell material” of possible cultural value.

A spokeswoman, KaDeena Yerkan, said Friday they don’t know how long the investigation will take.

Digging started in the past week on the 80-foot-wide pit that will be 120-feet deep. It will allow workers to lift out and repair the cutting head of the boring machine called Bertha.

Bertha overheated and came to a halt in December about 1,000 feet, or 10 percent of the way, into the planned Highway 99 tunnel.

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