Spokane-area and North Idaho utility crews were responding to dozens of small outages and a few larger ones caused mostly by fallen trees and branches early Wednesday morning and throughout the day as high winds hit the region.
The National Weather Service recorded a wind gust of 28 mph around 5 a.m. at Spokane International Airport. At 2:30 p.m. the winds were blowing at 28 mph and gusts reached 36 mph.
The winds blew harder north of Spokane. Deer Park had 29 mph winds and the morning and saw multiple gusts of 44 mph by 11 a.m.
Sandpoint saw a 44 mph gust around 6:15 a.m. and Coeur d’Alene had a 22 mph gust around 5:15 a.m., according to the weather service. Sandpoint had winds of 38 mph and a gust of 49 mph between 10:30 a.m. and noon, while the strongest gust in Coeur d’Alene was 32 mph as of 2 p.m.
Inland Power & Light reported more than 1,000 customers in the Greenbluff area experienced an outage before 6:30 a.m., according to the utility. Power was restored around noon.
About 50 Inland Power & Light customers did not have power northeast of Deer Park and nearly 40 had no electricity in the Newman Lake area, according to an outage map. Those outages were projected to be fixed Wednesday afternoon.
Inland Power & Light also had close to 200 Bonner County customers without power as of 7:30 a.m., according to the utility’s outage map. Fewer than 20 did not have power by 12:30 p.m.
Avista reported an outage affecting 145 customers in the Sandpoint area just after 7 a.m., according to its outage map. About 20 customers were without power by noon.
Northwest of Sagle nearly 220 people did not have electricity at noon, according to an outage map. Those outages were projected to be fixed Thursday morning.
Avista also reported nine outages in the Hope, Idaho, area affecting close to 560 customers, according to an outage map. Fewer than five people did not have power by noon.
About 250 Avista customers throughout the Inland Northwest were without power at 5:15 p.m.
Northern Lights reported outages in North Idaho affecting more than 3,300 customers, with about 2,300 of them in the Nordman area as of 2:30 p.m., according to the utility’s outage map. About 100 were without electricity in the Sandpoint area just before 3 p.m. More than 1,700 Northern lights customers remained without power at 5:15 p.m.
Kootenai Electric reported 53 customers without power south of Coeur d’Alene near Mica Bay as of 12:30 p.m., according to its outage map. By 2:45 p.m. just 14 people did not have power near Bayview.
Weather service meteorologist Laurie Nisbet said wind speeds would likely remain high through the afternoon and start to decrease Wednesday night in the Spokane area, Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint.
“The winds will probably be 20 to 30 mph,” she said.
Wind speeds in Spokane could reach the teens by morning with gusts up to 30 mph, Nisbet said.
The weather service previously issued warnings about potential damage and outages from the conditions, but gusts never reached 71 mph speeds like the wind storm in 2015.
“This is very different,” said Nisbet. “The one thing they do have in common is a long duration.”
On Thanksgiving the Spokane area should see sustained winds of 15 mph that decrease throughout the day, Nisbet said. Sandpoint and Coeur d’Alene will see stronger winds of 20 to 25mph that decrease throughout the afternoon.
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