Wind gusts up to 60 mph expected in Spokane on Monday afternoon; substantial power outages possible

Wind gusts up to 60 mph expected in Spokane on Monday afternoon; substantial power outages possible

<p><p>A warm and windy afternoon is forecast for the Spokane area Monday with gusts that could reach 50 to 60 mph. </p></p><p><p>Meteorologists expect the highest winds to blow into the Spokane area between 3 and 8 p.m. with wind speeds in excess of 30 mph, said Rebekah Cheatham, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Spokane. </p></p><p><p>North-south roads could experience dangerous crosswinds, and substantial power outages are likely, she said.</p></p><p><p>The western edge of the West Plains and a large portion of Adams County are expected to see winds up to 70 mph. Inland Power and Light provides electricity to many residents in those areas. </p></p><p><p>Andy Barth, Inland Light and Power’s government affairs and community relations officer, said the company’s light crews are ready to repair power lines and remove downed trees as quickly as possible, if necessary. </p></p><p><p>“This is what they get paid to do,” Barth said. “They’re good at their jobs.” </p></p><p><p>Cheatham reminded residents to put away yard decorations, trash cans, and outdoor furniture if possible along with tying down outdoor items. </p></p><p><p>The windstorm isn’t expected to be as severe as the <a href=”https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2016/nov/17/2015-windstorm-whipped-up-by-a-convergence-of-even/” target=”_blank”>2015 storm that caused millions of dollars of damage in Spokane and left thousands without power for more than a week.</a> That storm had peak gusts upwards of 70 mph, said Cheatham. </p></p><p><p>“This is going to be a faster moving front,” Cheatham said. </p></p><p><p>Gusts are also forecast to max out in the mid-60 mph range, lower than in 2015. The storm is expected to move through the region <a href=”https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2021/jan/13/wind-knocks-out-power-to-50000-customers-in-spokan/” target=”_blank”>even faster than the January windstorm that left one woman dead. </a></p></p><p><p>Winds will likely die down late Monday night and gusts will drop significantly, Cheatham said. </p></p><p><p>“Tuesday morning we may still have some gusts in the 20s,” Cheatham said. “Then throughout the day we’ll get down to some light and variable type of winds.”</p></p><p><p>There is still the potential for downed trees with soft soil in the region due to the recent rainfall, she said. </p></p><p><p>Avista Utilities, which provides electricity to nearly 400,000 customers in the Spokane area, said in a statement it is prepared for the possibility of outages with teams prepared and standing by if powerlines go down. </p></p><p><p>Estimated power restoration times likely won’t be available until the storm has passed, both Avista and Inland Light and Power said.</p></p><p><p>Avista outages can be reported online at myavista.com/outage or by calling (800) 227-9187. Barth encouraged Inland Light and Power customers to call the company at (877) 668-8243 if they lose power or if they see a downed power line. The company has an automated outage detection system, but Barth said eyewitness accounts are valuable. </p></p><p><p>Avista recommends turning off appliances that were on before the power went out, unplugging electronics, like computers, and turning on front porch lights to alert Avista crews to which homes have power. </p></p><p><p>Monday is also forecast to be unseasonably warm with a high of 61 degrees. The record high at for Nov. 15 is 60 degrees in 1896, Cheatham said. </p></p><p><p>“There’s definitely potential for a tied or broken record,” she said.</p></p><p><p>Temperatures are expected to return to normal mid-week with high temperatures in the upper 30s and low 40s, Cheatham said. </p></p><p><p><em>S-R reporter Colin Tiernan contributed to this story. </em></p></p>