High winds Wednesday morning brought down trees and limbs that knocked out power to tens of thousands of customers across the Inland Northwest, including hundreds of customers in Kendrick and Juliaetta, on the Palouse and further south near Elk City, according to Avista.
The utility reported nearly 900 customers without power in and around Kendrick and Juliaetta; nearly 700 in the Elk City area; nearly 600 in the Troy and Deary areas; nearly 600 in the Bovill and Elk River areas; more than 300 in the Viola area; and more than 300 in the Colton area.
Moscow and Pullman also experienced significant outages, with more than 120 customers without power in Moscow and about 50 in the Pullman area. The Lewiston-Clarkston Valley was largely spared, with only 66 customers without power as of 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. One downed power line did briefly close Gun Club Road on Wednesday morning, however.
Power had been restored to many areas by late Wednesday afternoon, but several hundred customers remained without power in the area between Troy and Elk River, with crews still assessing when service would be restored, according to Avista. In an update Wednesday night, the company said that saturated ground from recent rains led to a high number of downed trees, and some areas might not have power restored for more than 24 hours.
“Today’s restoration progress has largely focused on emergency or urgent situations and assessment,” Avista said in a news release. “As it is safe to do so, Avista continues to assess the extent of the damage and restore power.”
Overall, the high winds knocked out power for more than 67,000 customers across the Avista service area, and nearly 56,000 remained without power as of Wednesday night, with most of those being in the Spokane-Coeur d’Alene area.
Customers should stay away from any downed power lines, not attempt to remove limbs from downed or sagging power lines, and should not drive over power lines, according to Avista. If customers see a downed power line, they should call 911 immediately and then Avista at (800) 227-9187 to report its location.
Avista offered several suggestions for customers still experiencing a power outage:
Turn off all the appliances that were on before the power went out.
Unplug electronic equipment, including computers.
Leave a light or radio on as an alert when power has been restored.
Help Avista crews working in a neighborhood know which homes have power by turning on the front porch light.
Do not wire an emergency generator into a home’s electrical system, unless there is a disconnect switch to separate generated power from Avista’s distribution system. Backfeed into power lines could injure or kill a linemen working to get electricity restored.
Use a generator only to run specific appliances and locate it outside so poisonous carbon monoxide fumes do not enter the home.