Thousands still in the dark following Wednesday’s windstorm

SPOKANE, Wash. – As of Friday evening, tens of thousands of people are facing another cold night. Linemen are putting in overtime to get power back on across the Inland Northwest.

It could be days before the lights come back on for thousands of families in Spokane.

If you were to walk down 20th Avenue near Monroe on the South Hill, it’s like a tale of two cities.

Families on the south side of 20th Avenue have power. The north side is still dark.

“Today’s getting pretty cold in there,” said Dan Kuhlmann who lives on the street.

He’s been without power since Wednesday. Avista’s outage map tells him it might be out until Sunday night.

“It’s a while. Fortunately, I have family that live on the north side and they have power. I was able to empty out my freezer and refrigerator and take that stuff over there in they’re housing it for us,” he told 4 News Now.

Just a few feet across from his house, his neighbor of 40 plus years is cozy.

“I really feel badly about it, but I also know for them, they have friends over on the other side. They apparently have friends they can go to their homes,” said Barbara Rood, another resident on 20th Avenue.

Rood was without power for 24 hours when the windstorm hit Wednesday.

She said the home got down to 60 degrees.

“We got our flashlights out, lit a candle for the bathroom and then we just put on some heavier clothes,” she said.

Rood had a generator but waited until the next morning to take it out. As she was getting it ready, the lights came back on.

Her neighbor, Kuhlmann, is still without, though. Power lines are still down in several parts of the South Hill and across the Inland Northwest.

Crews are working around the clock to repair them. Avista says some of the remaining repairs could be time-consuming, as hundreds of poles and miles of wires are down and damaged.

It’s even possible one power pole could take up to eight hours to replace.

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So, Kuhlmann is waiting.

“Being retired, we’re generally home, so it’s uncomfortable to be home in the cold weather especially like right now. It’s gotten a lot colder,” he said.

For Kuhlmann and Rood, it was a different situation back in 1996 with the Ice Storm.

Rood had no power for days while Kuhlmann only lost power for 10 minutes.

“Now it’s vice versa, so now we have ours and they don’t have theirs. So, it’s crazy,” she said laughing.

Until Kuhlmann can get his power back, they’ll just stay at their family’s place.

“We’ve been through it before is right. It’s an inconvenience, but as I said, fortunately, I have family on the north side that keeps us warm,” he said.

If power is still out at your home, there are a few things Avista wants you to know for your safety.

  • Turn off appliances that were left on before the lights went out
  • Unplug any electronics, including computers
  • If you’re using a generator, only connect it to specific appliances
  • Leave the generator outside so you don’t get any carbon monoxide fumes in the home
  • Leave one light on or the radio on to let you know when power is back on
  • If your power is on, turn on the front porch light to let crews know

RELATED: Outage update: Local power companies still expecting outages to last a few days

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