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Utilities, City Crews Work To Restore Power, Clean Up After Friday Snowfall

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Utility crews around the Inland Northwest worked overnight to restore power to tens of thousands of customers after heavy snow fell around the region.

More than 5,000 Avista customers remained without electricity on Saturday morning in the Spokane area, other parts of northeastern Washington and northern Idaho. Inland Power reported about 1,000 homes without power, mostly in Spokane County. Northern Lights was working only a handful of outages affecting a few dozen customers.

The National Weather Service reports Spokane received about 7" of snow from Friday through Saturday morning, a record snowfall for an October day. The clouds have moved out, replaced by cold winds from the north, dropping the temperatures and wind chills in the region for the weekend. Spokane's forecast high is 35, but winds in the 15-20 mph range are expected to make the air feel much colder. Sunday will bring an end to winds, but the temperatures are still expected to barely get higher than the freezing mark. A gradual warming trend during the week will bring highs to a more normal low-50s range by the end of the week.

Spokane city officials say their work on Saturday will focus on removing fallen trees, branches and other vegetration from city rights-of-way. The city says it received about 100 reports of blocked streets. Snowplows have finished clearing the primary arterials. They'll work next on secondary arterials and residential streets where high snow loads were reported.

The city of Spokane says you can call 3-1-1 to report downed trees that are blocking streets. If you see tree limbs in power lines, you can report them at Avista's hotline, 1-800-227-9187.

Earlier this week, the city reported it was working with existing shelters to expand capacity for up to 85 people who need a place to stay during this unusually cold weather situation.