Windstorm Recovery Update

Lisa Jameson, 847-8099,

Friday, November 20, 2015 at 4:48 p.m.

SPOKANE, Wash. – Greater Spokane Department of Emergency Management (DEM), in partnership with numerous agencies, held another press conference today to update the community on the recovery status after Tuesday’s unprecedented windstorm. As the weekend approaches, for many individuals, it might be the first time they are able to assess and address damage. This again presents opportunities for neighbors to help neighbors as community resilience grows and #InlandStrong grows deeper roots.

With freezing low temperatures set to remain for several days, as well as the possibility for outages to last through the weekend for some, officials still urge individuals to shelter where there is electricity and heat.

If friends and family are not an option, the list of community shelter and warming centers continues to grow. To view the updated list, see attached list or click here. 2-1-1 also remains a tremendous resource for the community for locating post-windstorm services, as well as a Google Crisis map showing shelter, grocery and library locations.

For individuals who continue to shelter in their homes, a volunteer door-to-door campaign is underway in the city of Spokane to check on those individuals and ensure they have access to resources and are doing everything they can to remain safe and warm. Community volunteers are working in teams in northwest and northeast Spokane. Those efforts will expand this canvassing effort to include the cities of Spokane and Spokane Valley over the weekend. For individuals who would like to volunteer, beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday or Sunday, please visit or call 2-1-1. If an individual would like to simply show up, on Nov. 20, they should arrive at 9 a.m. at one of these locations for training:

  • East Central Community Center, 500 E Stone St, Spokane
  • City of Spokane Valley City Hall, 11707 E Ave. Sprague, Ste. 106, Spokane Valley (Saturday only)

Part of what volunteers will be doing is performing wellness checks as staying inside a home without electricity in these temperatures leaves individuals at risk for hypothermia. Signs of hypothermia include:

  • Uncontrolled shivering
  • Slow or unclear speech
  • Feeling extremely tired
  • Stumbling when attempting to walk
  • Confusion (person cannot think clearly)
  • Being semi-consciousness or unconsciousness

To prevent hypothermia, dress for the cold, wearing several layers of loose-fitting, light-weight, warm clothing, rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Wear hats, mittens, scarves and other clothing to keep the entire body warm.  Carbon monoxide poisoning and house fires also remain risks and residents are again encouraged to use approved heating equipment, keep generators outside and use flashlights instead of candles.

Aside from personal safety, property safety was also emphasized today.

Said Police Chief Rick Dobrow, “Personal safety reminders specific to safe use of generators and heat sources are still relevant, but is also important for people to use typical diligence with protecting personal property.”

Unfortunately, the county is beginning to experience some thefts, including two city-owned generators overnight. It is a good reminder for individuals to secure their personal belongings in locked homes, garages and outbuildings. Aside from making sure to secure your own property, neighbors can help each other by reporting suspicious activity. For crimes in progress, please call 911 and if you have been the victim of a crime call Crime Check at 509.456.2233. Officials also remind residents to please continue to be patient and careful when encountering traffic signals that are out.

In preparation for the lights coming back on, individuals can also protect their homes by turning off breakers or removing fuses, with the exception of leaving one lighting circuit on to know when electricity comes back on.

Clean-Up and Restoration Efforts
  • The City of Spokane is continuing to make progress with fully deployed crews focusing on clearing arterials and other critical areas around schools and health care facilities – residential and side streets will follow. The City of Spokane extended free disposal of large storm debris through Nov. 29 at its Northside Landfill and Waste to Energy Plant. Over the past two days, those locations have accepted 306 tons of debris. Smaller debris can be placed into their clean green bins for regular pick up. Perishable food items can be disposed of in clean green bins once the packaging has been removed.
  • Specific to Spokane County efforts, crews are likewise widely deployed and focusing on arterials and residential and side streets. The Spokane County Regional Solid Waste System also is accepting residential storm-related yard and tree waste for free at its North County Transfer Station, 22123 N. Elk-Chattaroy Road, and Valley Transfer Station, 3941 N. Sullivan Road, through Sunday. Hours for those facilities are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The County has announced its free service runs through Nov. 22, with an extension to Nov. 29 at the North County Transfer Station.
  • Avista continues to make good progress on critical infrastructure and human services priorities and is still on track against original estimates to restore power to customers within three to five days of Nov. 17 windstorm – 65,000 homes are still without power in their service area.
  • Inland Power and Light is still focused on efficiency and safety in their restoration efforts as 8,000 of their members remain without power.
  • Modern Electric is working diligently to restore power to its 186 customers who remain without power.
  • City of Spokane Valley officials are continuing to work with residents and businesses to assess damages to structures. The building department is offering free inspections for damages and can both residents and businesses can receive a certificate to submit to insurance.

In addition to freezing temperatures, rising wood smoke levels led to unhealthy air pollution levels and subsequently all outdoor burning in Spokane County is temporarily restricted. But indoor wood heating is not restricted under a State of Emergency exemption allowing indoor wood burning throughout Spokane County during this widespread power outage.

DEM continues to coordinate resources throughout Spokane County including first responders, health organizations, social service agencies and other resource providers and power companies – public safety remains a priority.

Please follow #InlandStrong on social media channels. For more information visit Greater Spokane Emergency Management or call 509.847.8099