SPOKANE, Wash. — More than 23,800 households remain without power for the third day Friday in the Inland Northwest after a deadly windstorm tore through Spokane and North Idaho.
As of 5:45 p.m. on Friday 20,354 Avista customers, 533 Inland Power customers and approximately 3,000 Kootenai Electric customers were without power.
At the height of the storm on Wednesday, about 103,000 households throughout the region were without power.
Avista crews made progress as they worked throughout the night to assess widespread damage and restore outages. Assessment and restoration efforts continue on Thursday, as additional damage and outage incidents continue to be uncovered.
Avista outages began at 4 a.m. on Wednesday. The power company said customers should be prepared for prolonged outages because assessments may take 24 hours or more in some cases.
As of 10:10 a.m. on Friday, approximately 26,628 Avista customers are without power with more than 1,100 unique outage incidents.
According to Avista, 21,508 customers in Spokane are expected to have their power back by Sunday, Jan. 17 at 6 p.m.
For 13,987 customers in Coeur d'Alene, Avista estimates power to be restored by Saturday. Jan. 16 at 10 p.m.
Line crews, 32 contract crews and 19 vegetation management crews are working on the outages on Thursday. Avista was also able to acquire an additional seven mutual aid crews from utility companies outside of the area that will arrive to support restoration.
The storm caused damage to both the transmission and distribution systems, with the primary damage involving trees coming into contact with lines and bringing wires down. Crews continue to navigate downed trees and debris, as well as rugged terrain in some areas, adding complexity in assessing the full extent of the damage, Avista said.
Avista customers can check current outages on an online map. Once assessments are completed, customers will be able to see estimated restoration times there.
Customers who experience power outages are encouraged to report them online through Avista's website or by phone at (800) 227-9187.
Inland Power outages
At the peak of the storm Wednesday, 20,000 Inland Power customers were without power.
As of 10:10 a.m. Friday, approximately 1,811 customers were without power.
Inland Power said all of its crews, along with five additional crews from neighboring utilities continue to work to remove multiple downed trees and replace poles and power lines.
The company anticipates the majority of customers will have their power restored by Sunday evening.
Inland Power estimates power to most of the West Plains, Airway Heights, Cheney, Newman Lake and Geiger Road areas to be restored by 8 p.m Friday.
Remaining customers in the Qualachan, and Hangman Areas should have their power fully restored by 8 p.m. on Friday.
Customers in the Spangle, Hangman Valley and Chapel Road areas should have their power restored by 4 p.m. Friday.
There's still no estimated time of restoration for Springhill, Tum Tum, Nine Mile and Deer Park.
Kootenai Electric outages
Kootenai Electric said in a press release on Thursday morning that it made significant progress overnight. Power was restored to some of Athol, Bayview, Rathdrum, Coeur d’Alene, Worley, Harrison and Post Falls.
Approximately 4,000 customers are still experiencing outages on Friday morning, according to the company's outage map.
Kootenai Electric said there is significant damage to the Spirit Lake East and Nettleton Gulch areas and on the back side of Hayden Lake.
Other areas they're focusing on include Harrison, Post Falls south of the river, the Rimrock area and Coeur d'Alene off 15th Street.
The majority of the damage consists of broken poles and downed lines, Kootenai Electric said. The company said they are working to replace 30 power poles. Broken poles can take up to 10 hours to replace and the company is still assessing how many are broken.
Kootenai Electric is telling customers to be prepared for multiple days of restoration efforts. The company is not able to provide restoration estimates at this time.
The company said its outage map is experiencing technical difficulties and may not be accurate.
Vera Water and Power outages
Vera Water and Power crews restored power to all its customers by 12:45 p.m. Thursday.
Most of the affected area was in the Saltese/Blossey neighborhood of Spokane Valley where a leaning tree is in an unsafe position.
At the height of the outage, 2,500 Vera customers were without power.
Here's how to view outage maps for power companies:
Report an outage with Vera Water and Power by phone at 1-888-774-8272.
Viewer photos: Spokane windstorm 2021
Avista suggests customers take the following steps during an 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 lineman 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.