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Winds affect more than 5,500 in Kootenai County

by BILL BULEY
Staff Writer | April 6, 2022 11:00 AM

COEUR d'ALENE - Strong winds on Monday knocked out power to more than 10,000 Avista Utilities customers, while the Coeur d'Alene Fire Department responded to several calls during the storm.

Numerous downed trees were reported in the area, but there were no injuries. Hayden Lake, Dalton Gardens, and Coeur d'Alene were the hardest-hit areas.

According to Avista, reports of outages in the company's Washington and Idaho service areas began coming in about 1 p.m. Monday.

Avista reported that 10,622 customers were impacted throughout its service territory at the peak of the storm.

About 5,500 Avista customers in Kootenai County were impacted throughout the day due to strong winds.

Power was fully restored to all Kootenai County customers by noon Tuesday, Avista said.

The outages were caused by strong winds that caused trees and tree limbs to come into contact with Avista power poles and lines.

"Avista crews worked as quickly and safely as possible throughout the afternoon and evening clearing and replacing downed trees, power poles, wire, equipment, and debris," said an email from David Vowels, Avista communications manager.

Kootenai Electric Cooperative reported that strong winds on Monday caused power outages that affected about 1,400 of its members throughout its service territory, including in the Garwood, Athol, Spirit Lake East, Harrison, Bayview, Medimont and Rockford Bay areas.

Power was restored by about 10 p.m.

"Our crews worked through the storm restoring power quickly. We believe our system maintenance and vegetation management programs, as well as recent work to place overhead power lines underground through a FEMA grant, helped keep power outages to a minimum," wrote Erika Neff, KEC spokeswoman.

The Coeur d'Alene Fire Department reported that crews responded to six electrical hazard calls due to blowing winds and falling trees, while continuing to respond to normal 911 service calls.

"We were prepared for this event and had put on extra staffing from noon to 5 p.m. to help manage 911 calls which were received," according to a press release.