Windstorm Recovery Update 

For Immediate Release Nov. 19, 2015

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. In the past 24 hours, the benefit of daylight allowed agencies to better assess the severe damage done to Spokane County. Consistent with this devastation, on Wednesday, Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency for all of Washington state.
Response agencies are dedicated to restoration and safety throughout the process. Community members are encouraged to protect the health and well-being of not only themselves, but also of families, friends and neighbors. Many kind and neighborly acts by citizens are already demonstrating Spokane’s ability to transition from #InlandWind to #InlandStrong. Additionally, a Google Crisis map is now available showing shelter, grocery and library locations. A host of translated materials are also available Spanish, Spanish, Russian, Russian, Ukranian, Chinese.

Said City of Spokane Mayor David Condon, “I remain in awe of the community of compassion that we all have. In times of need, as we’ve seen in the past times of emergency, we rally to help those most in need. This is one of those times. The rest of the month needs to be about neighbors helping neighbors. We’re helping people to check on neighbors, offer food, water, shelter and other assistance as you can safely do, and are able to do. No act is too small, we need Spokane—we need the Inland Northwest—to be Inland Strong.”
The transition of the community to supporting each other is especially timely as projected  low temperatures this evening and for the next several are expected to be in the low 20s. This freezing cold, combined with an estimated 100,000 homes still without power, the risks to community health and safety increase.
Several new service providers are offering places to seek storm relief. Three Spokane community centers will open tomorrow morning as day warming and power centers. Power has been restored to the Northeast Community Center (4001 N. Cook St.) and East Central Community Center (500 S. Stone), and both will be open from 8 am to 5 pm. A generator is in place at the West Central Community Center (1603 N. Belt), which will be open from 8:30 am-5:30 pm.
Spokane Public Schools will open five schools tomorrow from 8 am to 4 pm as warming and power locations. They are: Rogers High School (1622 E. Wellesley), Ferris High School (3020 E. 37th), Salk Middle School (6411 N. Alberta), Glover Middle School (2404 W. Longfellow), and Grant Elementary (1300 E. Ninth).
A generator has also been connected at the Salvation Army (222 E. Indiana), which is open this evening as a warming center beginning at 8 pm. 
Additionally, the Union Gospel Mission (1224 E. Trent) will serve a second set of meals specifically for those impacted by the storm beginning tomorrow morning and running through dinner on Sunday. Breakfast will be served from 7-8 am, lunch from 12:30-1:30 pm, and dinner from 6-7 pm each day. 
Additional locations for storm relief:
Individuals without electricity, especially those who are vulnerable, are still encouraged to seek shelter with family or friends who do have electricity. If that is not an option, several community shelter options are available, with plans underway to open more. Medically-trained volunteers are available to perform welfare checks in homes for individuals. To arrange a welfare check on yourself or a neighbor, individuals can call 2-1-1.

Shelter and warming location details listed below, or call 2-1-1 for more information:

Salvation Army warming center – 222 E. Indiana, 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 a.m., will take all ages.

American Red Cross shelters - 

  • Girls Scouts facility, 1404 N. Ash St., open 24 hours, will take all ages and pets. Medically-vulnerable populations should be directed to this shelter. Residents should be independently ambulatory to stay.
  • Cheney United Methodist Church, 204 4th St. in Cheney, 24 hours
  • Valley Assembly of God, 15618 E. Broadway in Spokane Valley, 24 hours
  • HOPE House - Operated By Volunteers of America, 113 W 3rd Ave Spokane, WA serves single women open tonight
  • House of Charity, single adults only – open at 6:00 p.m., 32 W Pacific
  • Crosswalk - 525 W 2nd Ave - open 24 hours, 18 and under only

Day-use facilities

  • Spokane Public Library from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. – Downtown (906 W. Main), East Side (524 S. Stone), Shadle (2111 W. Wellesley) and Indian Trail (4809 W. Barnes)
  • North Spokane County Library (44 E. Hawthorne) will open at 10 am.
  • Spokane Fire Stations 4 and 18, 1515 W. First and 120 E. Lincoln respectively
  • Boys & Girls Clubs (544 E. Providence) will be open from noon to 6 pm
  • C.O.P.S. Shadle (2215 W Wellesley) and Downtown (169 S Steven)
  • Sinto Senior Center - 1124 W Sinto Ave

If an individual is just looking for an affordable warm meal

Providence indicated that the cafeterias at Sacred Heart, St. Luke’s and Holy Family are open and a good place to purchase a meal.

Staying Safe at Home

If individuals must stay in their homes without electricity, they are encouraged to take appropriate precautions to stay safe. Several calls were already made for emergency assistance locally in the past 24 hours specific to potential carbon monoxide poisoning, It is important that individuals only use a generator outdoors (never in garages and carports) and far from open windows and vents, and never cook or heat inside on a charcoal or gas grill either, as families could get sick and even die from carbon monoxide poisoning. Agencies are also concerned about the risk for house fires from heaters or candles placed too closely to combustibles or things that may catch on fire, such as drapes, furniture or bedding.

Since temperatures will be below freezing, the risk for hypothermia—when a person’s body temperature drops significantly below normal—increases too. People are encouraged to wear warm, multi-layered clothing with good hand and feet protection and warm headgear.

Clean-Up  and Restoration Efforts

  • City of Spokane is methodically making 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 is repurposing resources to focus on the most critical work of clearing debris from streets, restore traffic signals and assist the most vulnerable. Although the number of trees down on public rights of ways has climbed to 376, nearly all of arterials are open. Generators are operating seven traffic signals and power to four others was restored. Informational maps are continuing to be updated regularly on
  • Specific to Spokane County efforts, crews are likewise widely deployed and focusing on arterials first and residential and side streets next. Countywide crews spent the day assessing damage, clearing debris and assisting residents where needed.
  • Avista made good progress and is still on track against original estimates to restore power to customers within three to five days of Nov. 17 windstorm—94,000 homes are still without power in their service area. All 23 substations are restored and transmission lines are almost all back up. Help from several outside agencies arrived and will be deployed shortly. There a total of 65 crews restoring power now.
  • Inland Power and Light is focused on efficiency and safety in their restoration efforts as well. Crews successfully restored power to over 27,000 of its members and roughly 5,000 of their members remain without power.
  • Modern Electric is working diligently to restore power to its 374 customers who remain without power.
  • City of Spokane Valley officials are beginning work with businesses to assess damages to structures.

Frozen Pipes and Frozen Food

In addition to the burden of dealing with outages and freezing cold, agencies do not want individuals to have to deal with burst frozen pipes as well. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, like water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets or outdoor hose bibs. Take these steps to avoid burst pipes:

  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
  • Let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Check around the home for areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated. Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or newspaper can even provide some degree of protection to exposed pipes.
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.

Specific to food safety, all food unrefrigerated for more than four hours should be thrown out. Only a fully-stocked freezer can maintain enough cold to keep foods safe and only for 48 hours. If temperature rises above 40 degrees for any of these foods, they should be disposed of.
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