SPOKANE, Wash — Two people are dead and residents throughout the Inland Northwest are reporting significant damage after a windstorm slammed the area on Wednesday.
A 71-mph gust recorded at the Spokane International Airport on Wednesday morning makes the 2021 windstorm as strong as the historic storm in 2015 that led Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a state of emergency. The storm killed two people and left 200,000 people without power for days.
Two people killed by fallen trees
A woman died on Wednesday morning after a tree fell on her car at 27th Avenue and Post Street, Spokane police said.
The Spokane County Medical Examiner identified the woman as 42-year-old Melanie Sanborn. She died from blunt force injures and her death was ruled an accident.
Sanborn was a pediatrician and hospitalist at Shriners Hospital for Children in Spokane. In a statement, Chief of Staff Dr. Glen Baird said in part that she was a "tireless advocate for kids and beloved by her patients." She also managed the specialty clinics for kids living with osteogenesis imperfecta and muscular dystrophy at Shriners Hospital for Children in Spokane.
In North Idaho, a man was killed on Highway 97, just east of Coeur d'Alene, four miles south of I-90, according to Idaho State Police.
ISP said Jon Snider, 59, of Post Falls was headed north on Highway 97 at about 8 a.m. on Wednesday when a tree came off the hillside adjacent to the highway and hit his car.
Snider drove over the embankment off the highway toward Lake Coeur d'Alene, ISP reported. He died from his injuries at the scene.
Woman injured after tree falls on home
Fire department personnel rescued another woman from her home on 63rd Avenue after she was trapped by a fallen tree at about 6:15 a.m. Spokane County Fire District 8 said in a tweet that she had chest injuries and was taken to a local hospital.
Downed trees in Spokane neighborhoods, parks
Tens of thousands of people in the Spokane area and North Idaho were still without power on Thursday morning following the storm.
Roads were blocked near Manito Park on Wednesday morning and a tree fell through a home at 24th Avenue and Manito Boulevard. Trees had also fallen into cars in the area of 16th and Grand Avenues.
Three houses were hit by trees in one block at 31st Avenue and Manito Boulevard, according to reports from a KREM 2 staff member.
The City of Spokane said on Wednesday afternoon that it had received dozens of reports of trees or branches in roads and about 130 came down in city parks. Some trees and broken branches remain at risk of falling.
The city said some trees have been completely uprooted and could have impacted underground utilities. Similar tree risks remain in neighborhoods.
A handful of trees were also uprooted in Coeur d'Alene Park, which is located in Spokane's Browne's Addition neighborhood.
Comstock Park also suffered severe damage from the storm. Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward said on Wednesday that the park lost about 50 trees and "looked like a war zone."
A tree also fell into a home at 5th and I Streets in Cheney, according to KREM 2 photojournalist Jeff Bollinger. Two trees also fell in front of Showalter Hall at Eastern Washington University, Bollinger said.
Viewer photos: Spokane windstorm 2021
Damage reported in North Idaho
The Kootenai County Sheriff's Office asked people on Wednesday to only call 911 for emergencies as its dispatch center was "overrun" with reports of downed trees and other weather-related events.
Those who need to report downed trees and other weather events can call the non-emergency number at 208-446-1300.
The dispatch center had entered more than 400 calls at about 8 a.m. on Wednesday as a result of the windstorm, most of which were for traffic hazards, downed trees and power issues, the sheriff's office said.
There were trees and power lines down in the City of Rathdrum on Highway 41 at Coeur d'Alene Street on Wednesday, according to Idaho State Police.
An uprooted tree also fell on a home at Government Way in Coeur d'Alene, according to KREM photojournalist Dave Somers. A KREM 2 viewer also sent video of damage to three homes in the same area.
Trees were also blocking other nearby roads in Coeur d'Alene.