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Sunday, September 27, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Wind knocks trees over in parks, into streets

UPDATED: Wed., Sept. 9, 2020

John Lewis, an irrigation specialist with Spokane Parks and Recreation, works Tuesday to repair a sprinkler head that was damaged when a large ponderosa pine was uprooted in Coeur d’Alene Park during Monday’s windstorm.  (Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
John Lewis, an irrigation specialist with Spokane Parks and Recreation, works Tuesday to repair a sprinkler head that was damaged when a large ponderosa pine was uprooted in Coeur d’Alene Park during Monday’s windstorm. (Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

While wind fueled fires, picked up dust and knocked trees into power lines though much of Eastern Washington, most of Spokane County was spared from damage.

The city of Spokane reported 15 trees knocked down Tuesday after a day of high winds, and the city of Spokane Valley and Spokane County reported no trees knocked into roads. Some trees were knocked down, had their tops snapped off of lost branches in Spokane County and Spokane Valley parks, but local leaders say there was much less damage compared to past wind events.

City of Spokane spokesman Brian Coddington said past wind events, such as the windstorm in 2015 that knocked down more than 800 trees, likely thinned out the trees that would have fallen during Monday’s storm.

“It’s significantly less than past wind events,” he said. “The city was fortunate to not have the impact we’ve experienced previously, or that other communities are experiencing today.”

Spokane Parks Department Spokeswoman Fianna Dickson said three trees had fallen in parks, three had fallen at golf courses and one street tree fell into the public right-of-way. The three trees in golf courses split or had broken tops and may need to be removed. The rest of the damage was branches or debris.

Martha Lou Wheatley-Billeter, Spokane County public works information and outreach manager, said some branches may have fallen into the road, but no major roadways were blocked. She said some landowners along rural county roads often decide to take care of any issues themselves, so it’s possible more trees did fall and the landowners cleared the debris without reporting the obstruction to the county.

John Botelli, operations division manager for Spokane County Golf, Recreation and Golf, said county parks and golf courses had sustained much less damage then they had in past wind storms.

He said there were three trees down on the Liberty Lake Loop Trail and a tree fell in the Dishman Hills Natural Area. He said more reports of fallen trees will likely come in over the next week as visitors go to parks and maintenance crews visit different public lands.

“I would expect probably a few more trees down in the woods, and on trails and we might hear about them in a few days, but nothing major has been reported yet,” he said.

The city of Spokane Valley reported little wind damage to trees, with only a tree limb falling down at the Park Road Pool facility and the top of a tree falling in Mirabeau Meadows.

Though most in Spokane County didn’t sustain serious damage from fallen trees, some are still without power due to a series of outages caused by the storm.

More than 20,000 electricity customers in Eastern Washington and North Idaho remained without power midday Tuesday in the aftermath of a powerful windstorm.

Avista Utilities reported about 4,400 customers without power as of Tuesday night. That’s down from 33,000 on Monday.

Inland Power reported more than 9,200 customers out, down from 14,000 Monday evening.

Kootenai Electric Cooperative reported nearly 700 without power, down from more than 11,000 on Monday afternoon.

Northern Lights Inc., which serves much of Boundary and Bonner counties in North Idaho as well as parts of Western Montana, reported 4,600 without power noon Tuesday, down from 11,500 on Monday.

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