Storm brings dust clouds and power outages

Storm brings dust clouds and power outages

SPOKANE, Wash. - People from all over Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho watched in awe as the large dust cloud covered everything in its path, turning the sunny summer sky into a brown haze Tuesday evening.

The fast winds combined with rain and hail have become all too common for many Spokane residents.

For other areas like Spokane Valley and the South Hill, a new phenomenon.

No matter where you are located Jessie Wuerst, from Avista, said they believe they were more prepared than the previous storms.

"We've really had to get back on our toes, refresh our storm preparations but it didn't take that long when that first storm came up in July to make sure that our communications, are extremely regular and clear with our customers," said Wuerst.

Crews were on standby after their regular day shifts Tuesday in order to tackle the downed power lines as quickly as possible. As soon as the first of the storm rolled over the South Hill crews were out working.

Wuerst said whether it is their linemen or customers, "Above all it's safety that's a concern."

Hours after the storm, Avista said there are things customers can do to ensure safety.

"We want people to be very, very careful and avoid any line that's down because you don't know if it's a cable line or a phone line," said Weurst.  

With a total of 3,500 people without power Tuesday night, Avista is telling people to be patient. Where they are trying to get lines up as soon as possible, there are a number of concerns to look out for.

"With these dry summer conditions, once we have the line re strung, we actually have to walk the lines between power poles to make sure all the lines are up and not touching anything that could catch fire," said Weurst.

To report a power outage to Avista, call 800-227-9187.