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High winds down trees, power lines in the Inland Northwest

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Courtesy of National Weather Service
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The National Weather Service says high winds Monday evening downed power lines and trees.

Forecasters say winds blew in the 45-to-60 mile-an-hour range with a peak gust of 72 miles per hour at Athol, north of Coeur d'Alene. The Coeur d'Alene airport recorded a peak gust of 61 mph.

Other peak readings include 63 mph at Pullman/Moscow Airport and 62 mph, recorded at Spokane International Airport and Pomeroy, in southeast Washington. Felts Field and Fairchild Air Force Base both report peak gusts of 59 mph.

The winds have slowly begun to diminish, though they're still expected to blow in the 30-45 mph range through Tuesday.

Thousands of people were without power at times on Monday night. As of 7 am Tuesday, Avista reported about 1,400 people in the dark in Kootenai County, 1,200 in Bonner County and 400 in Stevens County. Inland Power reported about 640 without power in its coverage area, 80% in Spokane County, many of them in the northern part of the county. Kootenai Electric is working to restore power to more than 700 members in north Idaho.

The utilities encourage customers to report power outages and check their online maps.

Meteorologist Andrew Brown says the region’s recent soggy weather increased the risk of damage.

“The ground is a little bit saturated right now, so how that plays into the trees, if they’re more likely to come down because of the saturated soil, that could become a factor," he said.

Forecasters expect some flooding in Okanogan and Chelan counties. Brown says water coming from the mountains of southern British Columbia may cause the Simulkameen River to flood in northern Okanogan County.