Work Resumes To Restore Power To Thousands

Jan 13, 2021

This home in northwest Spokane just escaped major damage when an uprooted tree missed hitting it by inches. A car parked underneath the branches also just missed being crushed by heavy limbs.
Credit Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Crews from the region's utilities are back at it this morning [Thursday], working to restore power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses in eastern Washington and northern Idaho.

Avista says Wednesday’s windstorm caused at least 1,600 outages in its service territory, knocking out electricity to about 70,000 customers. As of this morning, the utility says more than 45,000 are still not connected.

Inland Power reports it still has 6,000 customers without power on Thursday morning, down from 20,000 during the peak of the outage on Wednesday afternoon. Still, it warns it may take several more days to get all of its customers back to normal, especially those living in remote areas.

In north Idaho, Erika Neff from Kootenai Electric Cooperative says crews made progress overnight in restoring power. About 4,000 people in the utility's service area are still without electricity. 

“We have 11 crews working right now and we’re calling in more contact crews. As they assess damage, we are asking our members to be prepared for outages that last throughout the night and possibly to multiple days," she said. "It’s really widespread throughout our system and we serve up from about Athol all the way down to the Worley area. So, throughout Kootenai County we’re seeing outages," she said.

She says some customers could continue to be without power beyond today.

In Spokane, huge trees were uprooted in soggy soil. Some fell on homes and cars.

This tree was one of several that fell at Spokane's Downriver Golf Course.
Credit Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Trees fell over roads and into houses. In Spokane, city officials say the most severe damage is on the South Hill and in the northwest neighborhoods. Comstock and Audubon Parks are among those lost huge old trees, many tumbling over in the soggy soil, roots and all.  Trees fell into fences and the parking lot at Downriver Golf Course.

City workers from several departments responded, cleaning up branches and other debris. Tree companies were busy cutting up trunks and branches and removing them from rights-of-ways and yards. Some city streets and private driveways are still blocked.

If you’re still without power and haven’t reported it, utility officials ask you to call and let them know.