Bracing for high winds Monday evening

SPOKANE, Wash. — Monday evening, we’re bracing for high winds and just weeks after a deadly windstorm, some people are on high alert. Fortunately, winds this time around shouldn’t be as threatening as what we saw before but regardless, it’s a good time to evaluate the trees in your area.

Comstock Park was one of the hardest hit locations in last month’s big wind storm.

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Most trees in our area have evolved to withstand winds of 40 mph or 50 mph, similar to what we anticipate Monday night. However, back in January, winds reached nearly 70 mph in some areas. Registered Consulting Arborist, Jim Flott, tell us this was likely because it was an unprecedented weather event.

“It’s the unusual weather events, 70 mph winds, that they have not evolved with,” Flott explained.

Still, it’s possible to lose trees with structural defects.

“One of the things they can do is maintain their trees,” said Flott. “One of the mantras we preach in the industry is that trees that are maintained can tolerate storms much better than trees that are not maintained.” This includes pruning the pines, removing the dead branches and identifying trees that look troublesome.

“When a tree looks like a utility pole at the ground, where there is no taper, that means the root system is buried. That’s bad,” said Flott.

If you have concerns about specific trees in your neighborhood, he recommends hiring a consulting arborist to evaluate the trees and do a risk assessment on the trees. This is your best bet at getting an honest and objective opinion, because they are typically not involved in the tree removal process.

Avista shared that their teams are ready with fueled and stocked fleet vehicles, and they’re encouraging customers to report an outage.

RELATED: Avista is ready to fix any outages, downed lines caused by Monday’s strong winds