Lisa Jameson, 847-8099, LJameson@spokanecounty.org
Sunday, November 22, 2015 at 12:51 p.m.
SPOKANE, Wash. – Greater Spokane Department of Emergency Management (DEM), in partnership with numerous agencies, is providing this windstorm recovery update for Nov. 22, 2015. With the continued possibility for some outages to persist into mid-next week, continuing to remain #InlandStrong is still the primary emphasis for the community. Open hearts and open homes are still greatly encouraged among those residents with power. If sheltering with family or friends is not an option, individuals are still encouraged to seek refuge in any of the many shelters and warming centers listed here. 2-1-1, whose staff fielded hundreds of calls in the past 24 hours, also remains a tremendous resource for the community for locating post-windstorm services, as well as a Google Crisis map showing shelter, warming and grocery locations.
With snow mixed with rain predicted for early in the week, and continued low temperatures, those still inside their homes and without electricity need to remain vigilant in protecting against carbon monoxide poisoning and hypothermia. Open flames and alternate heat sources are still threats for house fires, so individuals should only use safe methods to remain warm (fireplaces, multiple clothing layers). There is also possibility for frozen and/or burst pipes – keep a running stream of cold water from affected pipes/faucets and keep applicable cabinet doors open to encourage heat flow.
The call for volunteers has been renewed for Monday to go door-to-door to check on homebound individuals and ensure they have access to resources and are doing everything they can to remain safe and warm. For individuals who would like to volunteer, please visit volunteerspokane.org or call 2-1-1. If an individual would like to simply show up, on Nov. 23, they can arrive for training:
Cold temperatures and outages also present risks to pets. Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS), 6815 E. Trent Ave., Spokane Valley, 509.477.2532 has power to the facility and is open Sunday until 4 p.m. for people who want to drop off found animals or look for lost pets. Beginning Monday, Nov. 23, SCRAPS will offer a pet warming shelter for animals from homes without power – individuals are encouraged to drop pets off beginning at 10 a.m.
Also, as Thanksgiving approaches, access to food is increasingly becoming a concern in the community. Second Harvest offers a list on its website of eastern Washington emergency food outlets or call 509.534.6678. Partners are also coming together around existing and potential locations for communal meals. More information will be made available early in the week.
City of Spokane continues 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 few days, those locations have accepted hundreds of 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 widely deployed and focusing on arterials and residential and side streets. Due to high volumes, the Spokane County Regional Solid Waste System is directing residential storm-related yard and tree waste to its North County Transfer Station, 22123 N. Elk-Chattaroy Road. Debris of all sizes will be accepted free-of-charge through Nov. 29. Hours for those facilities are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Avista continues to make good progress on critical infrastructure and human services priorities, with additional help arriving today from Montana and Portland to repair the hundreds of miles of destroyed distribution lines. On rotating shifts, 123 Avista crews (four times the normal crew count) are now in the field working in populated areas – 46,000 homes are still without power in their service area. Avista continues to dig out from the worst natural disaster the company has seen in its history and, due to the magnitude of the destruction, work is taking longer than expected. Officials are still expecting that it may be mid-week before the majority of customers have power.
Inland Power and Light is still focused on efficiency and safety in their restoration efforts as 6,000 of their members remain without power. They reiterated their need for individuals to stay clear of downed power lines. It has 21 total crews now dedicated to helping in its restoration of members’ power, but is also projecting a midweek restoration of power.
City of Spokane Valley Public Works crews removed all reported blockages from downed trees in the public roadway. No new reports have been received. Please call 921.1000 to report any new storm-related tree and debris blockages in Spokane Valley city roadways. Volunteers were out in seven areas that were still without power distributing safety information, recovery updates, and information on resources for those affected by the storm. Three of those volunteer teams reported back that power was since restored in those areas. Most of traffic signals are up and running.
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.