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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Thousands lose power as rain, wind hits Spokane area

Brief downpours and strong gusts pounded the Inland Northwest on Thursday, downing and uprooting trees and leaving thousands of people without power.

More than 8,400 Avista customers in Eastern Washington and North Idaho had no power shortly after 8 p.m., according to the energy company’s outage map.

The region received one-quarter to one-half inch of rain Thursday afternoon and early evening, according to Valerie Thaler, meteorologist at the National Weather Service Spokane.

The Spokane International Airport received 0.38 inches of precipitation, Felts Field got 0.24 and Deer Park got 0.27, Thaler said. In North Idaho, the Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls areas received 0.2 to 0.25 inches, while 0.54 inches fell in Harrison.

Downpours were reported in some areas, but they were short -lived, Thaler said.

She said a person in Greenacres reported 0.16 inches of rain in 15 minutes, while the Five Mile area had 0.3 inches in 24 minutes.

“Some areas did get pretty heavy rain, but the storms were moving pretty quickly,” Thaler said.

A light drizzle and calm winds could be felt around 8 p.m. in downtown Spokane. However, wind gusts reached 45 mph earlier in the Spokane area, said Charlotte Dewey, meteorologist at the weather service.

Thaler said the weather service received reports of downed and uprooted trees, which suggested wind speeds of over 55 mph, though those speeds were not observed.

Isolated showers are possible Friday morning, but Thaler said heavy rain could greet Spokane County residents late Friday morning through the evening.

The weather service issued a flash flood watch through Friday morning for North Idaho and Eastern Washington because of potential “excessive rainfall.”

Flooding may occur in poor drainage and urban areas, and extensive street flooding and flooding of creeks and rivers are possible, the weather service said.

Thaler said she did not receive any reports of flash flooding Friday night.

Dewey said she encourages people to be safe if outside and recommended people avoid going outside because of lightning.