Where were you last November 17 as the Inland Northwest was in the midst of a destructive windstorm? It was unlike anything we’ve seen in our city’s history. For most, things have returned to normal. But it’s a day the Inland Northwest won’t soon forget.
Before it even hit, emergency crews were preparing for the worst.
“This is going to be in the top five historic events in Spokane,” Andy Brown, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at National Weather Service, said.
Forecasters began to realize just how devastating the storm was going to be.
“In Spokane, that 71 mph gust is a record,” Kris Crocker, Chief Meteorologist at KXLY4 News, said.
Throughout the night, the damage was apparent to all. No area was spared and thousands were left picking up the pieces.
“We’ve been out here at SpokAnimal, just watching this roof behind me keep peeling further and further back,” former KXLY4 News reporter John Hendricks said.
“We still hear the constant echo of ambulances, police cars, firetrucks responding to calls for service,” our Jeff Humphrey reported.
The high winds killed two people and tens of thousands were left in the dark, unsure for how long.
“Nadine, it is so eerie being out in the middle of a neighborhood and not having a single light other than the one we are providing,” former KXLY4 News reporter Allie Norton said.
Originally, Avista expected it would take three to five days for power to be restored. But as that timeline approached, it was clear it would take much longer.
“You can see that there are workers actually out here right now, putting in the long hours. The houses here, though, are still dark,” Norton reported.
But by Thanksgiving, Avista trucks were lining the streets to restore power to nearly every home.
“We’re out here jumping around like it’s New Year’s Eve at midnight, hollering, hoping those Avista guys can hear us so we can say, ‘You’re heroes! Thank you,’” Jamie Mann, a homeowner, said.
The storm itself lasted just hours. The impact, though, stretched on for months for hundreds of families whose homes and property took a direct hit from that powerful storm.
Cleanup from the windstorm took months, but it also spawned the hashtag, “Inland Strong,” reminding our community that we can make it through just about anything as long as we work together.