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High winds cause power outages

by Brian Walker
| April 9, 2010 9:00 PM

High winds forced scattered power outages throughout North Idaho on Thursday.

The biggest recorded gust in Coeur d'Alene during the day was 48 mph at 3:35 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

Although Kootenai Electric Cooperative and Avista were experiencing outages into the evening, the companies predicted they would have most customers back on by this morning as the storm was expected to subside.

Avista had 822 North Idaho customers without service in mid-afternoon. The number was reduced to 773 by 4:30 p.m.

The hardest-hit areas were Kellogg and St. Maries with nearly 300 outages, but scattered Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls and Rathdrum customers were also affected.

"Trees were blowing into distribution lines in neighborhoods," said Hugh Imhof, Avista spokesman. "All a branch has to do is touch a line and that can cause a short."

KEC had about 575 outages in the Hayden Lake, Harrison and Rockford Bay areas at 1 p.m. At 4:30, the company had about 1,000 outages in the Athol, Hayden Lake, Harrison and Coeur d'Alene areas.

Paul Bos, an NWS meteorologist, said Thursday's weather that included snow pellet showers, rain and sunshine isn't unusual for spring. The speed of the wind gusts were abnormal, however.

KEC members are urged to report outages at (877) 744-1055. Avista customers should call (800) 227-9187.

Avista customers can also report an outage, see how many outages there are in specific areas and an expected restoration time at www.avistautilities.com/safety/outages/pages/default.aspx.

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