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Windstorm could cause power outages

| January 12, 2021 4:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE — Strong winds forecasted to begin early Wednesday could cause power outages across Avista’s Washington and Idaho service area.

Wet, saturated soil, due to the rain combined with strong winds, could bring down trees and limbs, causing downed power lines, according to an Avista press release.

"Avista is prepared to respond and is urging customers to prepare for potential storm damages and outages," the release said.

Erika Neff with Kootenai Electric Cooperative said they will have 11 crews and contractors available and ready to work when needed.

"The temperatures in our area have been warmer than normal, creating soft soil, which increases the chance of downed trees, power lines and "weather-related power outages," Neff wrote in an email to The Press. "KEC crews are on-call 24 hours a day and ready to be dispatched throughout our service territory to restore power as quickly and safely as possible."

The National Weather Service is predicting gusts of up to 40 to 50 mph in the Spokane and Coeur d'Alene areas. It should be rainy early on Wednesday, with skies turning sunny as the day goes on, with a high near 50.

Avista crews are also ready with fueled and stocked fleet vehicles, warehouse supplies are in place in Spokane and outer offices, assessment teams are standing by, along with wire guard teams, to help ensure public safety near downed power lines, tree crews are prepared and employees are moving from their typical day-to-day responsibilities to assist in storm-related activities.

With sustained winds expected, estimated restoration times are not likely to be available until the storm has passed and Avista is able to complete assessments, which may take 24 hours or more, depending on the extent of the damage, according to the press release.

Customers can expect to see current outage numbers on the outage map at myavista.com/outage while the estimated restoration time will note that outages are under assessment.