Lights out leaves cold, boredom for 20000 in Washington | us news

Lights out leaves cold, boredom for 20000 in Washington

25 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

At least 5,000 not expected to have power by Thanksgiving.

Nearly 20,000 households in Spokane — Washington state’s second-largest city — were surviving Tuesday after nearly a week without heaters, lamps and TV screens for after howling winds ripped apart power lines, trees and the electrical grid. Alice Niemeirer, left, stands outside her home on 22 nd Avenue with friend Verna Eucker as linemen repair damaged equipment and wires that have left the home dark for eight days.Crews from four states and Canada continue to work around the clock to restore power to 19,000 Avista customers who remain without power a week after a major windstorm barreled through the Inland Northwest.As of last night, Mayor David Condon and City Councilman Mike Fagan were without power as a result of the historic windstorm that blew through the region last week. Governor Jay Inslee planned to meet with local leaders Tuesday as about 20,000 customers in Spokane County have been living without heat and light amid subfreezing temperatures since Nov. 17.

Jay Inslee visited Spokane to inspect damage from the worst windstorm in the region’s history, promising to explore whether Spokane County qualifies for federal disaster assistance. “This has been a very long and very, very tough week for Spokane County,” Inslee said after being briefed by local leaders, adding that he has been impressed by efforts to care for vulnerable members of the community. Inslee, meanwhile, is asking for the state to keep the Inland Northwest in the forefront of their mind, especially those who may be left in the dark on Thanksgiving.. “In our household and I know many households across the state we’ll be having a lot to be thanks for this Thursday and that is going to be thanks for the inland strong people of Spokane County,” he said. The National Weather Service says frigid air is moving into the Spokane region Tuesday, coupled with windy conditions that would drop wind chill factors into dangerously cold single digits. Avista said it plans to have power restored the majority of its customers by Wednesday but there could be as many as 5,000 still without power through Thanksgiving.

While Avista does that for newer construction, it’s just not practical for more established neighborhoods, he said, noting that Spokane is built on top of very dense basalt rock. “We received 2,289 calls to the 911 system between 1 pm and 9 pm on the day of the storm,” he continued, adding that it received another 800 calls for medical incidents, structure fire, gas leaks and other calls for service. Avista Corp., the region’s largest utility, has been working round the clock, but up to 5,000 customers may still lack electricity by tonight, chairman Scott Morris said. He says the forecast calls for more snow, with temperatures dropping into the low 20s and strong winds that will make it feel even colder on Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day.

On a stretch of 22nd Avenue between Bernard and Browne streets, a line crew had to climb over and through bushes, retaining walls and fences in backyards to reach downed trees, sagging powerlines and damaged poles. Best friends Alice Niemeier and Verna Eucker arrived at Niemeier’s home on 22nd Avenue and clasped their hands at the sight of the line crew hired by Avista to make repairs. Most of the remaining households without power are in locations where the electric grid had the most damage and were the most difficult to repair, Morris said. Alice fetched a Corningware dish of casserole from the freezer of her tidy home and said they intended to reheat it for dinner Tuesday night at another home where they are staying.

A homeowner on Sound Avenue named Martha, who declined to give her last name, brought cupcakes to a crew from Sturgeon Electric of Oregon to say thanks for returning power to her home. He urged continued patience in the coming days and asked those without power, but who have neighbors whose lights are back on, to report their outage to Avista by phone at 1-800-227-9187. Inland Power and Light reported all but 350 of their customers had power restored by Tuesday morning, as the winter’s first significant snow fell on Spokane County. While power has been restored to most schools, the district decided to cancel classes all week for 29,000 students because downed power lines and trees blocking sidewalks where children walk pose a danger.

A request for assistance to individual homeowners of this summer’s catastrophic wildfires was rejected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency earlier this fall. Next door, Aaron Randall, an employee of A+ Garage Door, has been opening damaged doors and replacing automatic openers that were damaged or were preventing people from accessing their garages.

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