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Power lines downed as fierce windstorm blows across basin

by CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE
Staff Writer | November 5, 2022 2:10 PM

MOSES LAKE — Damage was minimal in the Columbia Basin following Friday night’s windstorm even as recorded gusts topped 50 miles per hour in some parts of the region, according to the National Weather Service office in Spokane.

NWS meteorologist Charlotte Dewey said the high wind recorded at the Grant County International Airport was 49 miles per hour, while the NWS recorded winds of 66 miles per hour in Mattawa — the highest speed in the county.

Gusts of up to 51 miles per hour were recorded in Quincy, with winds reaching 41 miles per hour in Othello, 49 miles per hour in Ritzville, and 40 miles per hour in Lind.

“The storm was pretty potent,” Dewey said.

Grant County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Kyle Foreman said damage in Grant County was restricted to downed power lines, though there was a chimney fire in the 10000 block of Kory Lane north of Moses Lake that the wind pushed down the chimney. Foreman said crews from Grant County Fire District 5 responded and took care of the fire quickly.

“There were scattered brush fires here and there started by downed power lines, but none of them got very big,” Foreman said.

Adams County Sheriff Dale Wagner said there were no reports of major damage in Adams County.

“Things are OK,” he said.

Both the Grant County Public Utility District and Avista reported scattered outages around their service areas as a result of downed power lines.

In a statement, Grant PUD said there were outages in Mattawa, Royal City, Warden and Moses Lake, and that as of Saturday morning, crews were out repairing downed power lines and restoring power.

“Be safe and stay away from downed power lines,” the PUD statement said.

Avista, which provides power not only to Adams County but also to large portions of Eastern Washington, said that at 3 a.m. Saturday around 18,850 Avista customers across the utility’s service area were without power largely due to branches falling on power lines. As of late Saturday morning, Avista’s online outage map reported that outages largely affected customers in and around Spokane, Lewiston, and large parts of northern Idaho.

Dewey said that while the region is done with this storm, another winter storm is coming, this time bringing with it cold and even snow all this week.

“Temperatures will get much colder, and the highs will only get up to freezing, and overnight in the teens,” she said.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com