Thousands were without power Monday night as a windstorm with gusts as high as 60 mph pushed trees down and into power lines across Spokane County and North Idaho.
Gusts as high as 40 to 50 mph arrived Monday morning, said Ken Daniels, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Spokane. Winds hovered above 50 mph through much of the afternoon, peaking at 60 mph around 3 p.m. as recorded at the Spokane International Airport, said meteorologist Jon Fox.
A high-wind warning was issued for the Spokane and North Idaho area until 11 p.m. Monday. By 7:30 p.m., approximately 11,780 Avista and Inland Power and Light customers across those areas and northern Spokane County were without power.
Winds through Spokane were recorded Monday evening at around 30 mph with gusts nearing 45 mph, Fox said. Forecasters expected conditions to remain fairly breezy Monday night into Tuesday morning.
The strong winds persisting into Tuesday are expected to quiet down later in the week, according to the National Weather Service forecast.
“As far as the damaging winds though we’ve probably seen the worst that the Spokane area is going to see,” Fox said.
The high winds caused a number of downed trees and power lines throughout the Spokane and surrounding areas, causing brush fires, blocked roads and damage to homes and cars.
The city of Spokane’s 311 customer service center received 20 calls for downed trees in roadways and four reports of downed trees in city parks, including two calls about Coeur d’Alene Park in Browne’s Addition, according to the Neighborhoods, Housing and Human Services division.
The city’s 311 service did not receive any calls of life-threatening situations or reports of trees on homes.
The conditions caused a wildfire north of Nespelem on the Colville Indian Reservation that, by 6 p.m., had burned more than 200 acres, according to Kathy Moses, with the Mount Tolman Fire Center.
Conditions at Steven, Blewett and Snoqualmie passes, meanwhile, were less than ideal for travelers Monday morning, with snow blown about by strong winds and areas of poor visibility, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. The weather service predicted a potential of 2 feet of wet snow on Stevens Pass, and 6 inches of snow on Lookout Pass in Idaho.
Avista Utilities issued several emails to customers urging them to prepare for the strong winds and potential power outages.
As of 7:45 p.m. approximately 7,780 Avista customers were without power from 177 outages. Another approximately 4,300 Inland Power and Light customers were without power as of Monday afternoon, including 1,493 customers in Spokane County.
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