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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Dust storms, hazardous conditions forces closure of I-90 and several other highways in Eastern Washington

Sept. 7, 2020 Updated Mon., Sept. 7, 2020 at 8:31 p.m.

Dust and smoke cause significant problems with visibility on Monday, forcing officials to close several highway in Central and Eastern Washington.  (Washington State Department of Transportation camera.)
Dust and smoke cause significant problems with visibility on Monday, forcing officials to close several highway in Central and Eastern Washington. (Washington State Department of Transportation camera.)

Blowing dust, winds and fire danger have closed roads outside of Ritzville and across the Grant County line, including Interstate 90.

Dust, low visibility and crashes have closed U.S. Highway 395 between Ritzvillle and state Highway 26. That road, and several other roads throughout Central and Eastern Washington are closed due to dust, hazardous conditions and fire danger.

Those hazardous conditions could worsen during the dust storm expected to last until around 3:45 p.m. that will impact Ritzville, Washtucna, Endicot and St. John.

Trooper Jeff Sevigney, a spokesman for the Washington State Patrol, said the roads closed around Ritzville will not reopen until the dust and collisions have cleared. He said multiple vehicles have crashed in the area and he has not yet heard that there were serious injuries.

Dust, winds and hazardous conditions are expected to impact Vantage to Sprague on Interstate 90, Waterville to Davenport on U.S. Highway 2 and Ritzville to Tri-Cities on U.S. 395 and Vantage to Colfax on U.S. Route 26, according to an advisory from the National Weather Services’ Spokane Office. The advisory is in effect from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday.  

In Okanogan County, U.S. Route 97 is closed from Malott to Okanogan City limits, according to a tweet from the Washington State Patrol.

Sevigney also tweeted that the road outside of Wilbur between milepost 239 and 250 was closed due to fire danger.

According to the a tweet from the Washington State Department of Transportation, I-90 from the Grant County line to Ritzville is closed, US 395 from Ritzville to Highway 26 is closed, U.S. 2 from state Route 172 to state Route 17 is closed, state Route 17 is closed at state Route 17. WSDOT warned in its tweet that more road closures could occur with little warning.

All of Eastern Washington and North Idaho are also under a red flag warning, which means there is an elevated risk of new or further spread of fires. Ritzville and Moses Lake are also both under high wind warnings.

Currently there is a 600 acre fire burning outside of Davenport, but the area has not yet been evacuated. There are also fires in the Rosalia and more than 500 acres burning in the Colfax area. There is also a fire outside of Okanogan that according to the State Fire Marshal’s Office, is 8,000 acres and growing. 

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