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Avista recap and thanks for Saturday storm

Avista recap and thanks for Saturday storm

Avista once again is expressing their gratefulness for customer patience and support after recovering from the second major storm in just two weeks.

It took only three days to restore power to all 48,000 customers impacted by the August 2 storm, which rolled across the inland northwest just six days after the July 23 storm. The last storm resulted in the worst damage to the system since an ice storm in 1996.

“It's an amazing achievement to restore power to all of our customers within a matter of days following the one-two punch we received from Mother Nature,” said Avista Utilities President Dennis Vermillion. “Given the magnitude of damage from these back-to-back storms, I have the deepest respect for all of our employees who were involved in restoration efforts, especially our Avista crews and the contract crews who worked tirelessly in the heat to turn on the lights and get the air conditioning and fans blowing for our customers.”

WSU researchers create gel to keep fields healthy during drought

WSU researchers create gel to keep fields healthy during drought

Washington State University researchers have created a product that could help farmers keep their fields moist during a drought.

Led by Associate Professor Jinwen Zhang, the group created hydrogel pellets similar to the super absorbent material used in diapers. The main difference is what they're made of. While diapers rely on petrolium based gel, WSU researchers have created one out of soy protein.

The pellets swell to hold 250 times their weight in water, and because they are made of biodegradable agricultural material instead of chemicals they leave no residue behind when they disintegrate in the ground. In fact, the soy protein can actually act as a source of nitrogen to help plants grow.

A soy-based product would also lessen dependence on foreign oil imports, and boos the local economy since the U.S. Produces half of the world supply of soy beans.

Inland Northwest sees dusting of snow

Inland Northwest sees dusting of snow

Residents of Eastern Washington and North Idaho saw a light dusting of snow Wednesday morning.

Snow is expected to fall early Wednesday morning then turn to rain.

The rain is expected to last through Friday, then warm up and dry off for the weekend.

Rain, run off and snow melt hitting Bonner County

Rain, run off and snow melt hitting Bonner County

The rain keeps falling and the calls keep coming in to the Bonner County Administration office as heavy run off and snow melt is causing havoc on the roadways in North Idaho.

Most of Bonner County emergency management director Bob Howard's problems right now are on county roads.

"With frost and mud and plugged culverts and storm water systems that won't drain it builds up water and water goes over the road ways," said Howard.

A backed up culvert caused flooding at the Ponderay Mobile Home Park Sunday. The water is now back down but in other areas of the county some driveways are close to impassible. For now it looks worse than it is.

"Inconvenience and road hazard. There's no major damage," said Howard.

Howard says snow melt will likely happen for the next couple weeks. Streams and rivers will be pushing their banks. The very cold water dangerous for anyone trying to wade across. The same goes for low clearance cars; it's better to find a way around than get stuck or swept down stream, something to watch out for every year around this time.

"We've had lighter years and we've had worse years so this is kind of a moderate," said Howard.

Storm blankets Inland Northwest with snow

Storm blankets Inland Northwest with snow

The National Weather Service says the Spokane area will see more snow Monday morning before it turns to freezing rain and just rain later in the day.

The Weather Service recorded nearly 5 inches of snow at Spokane International Airport from the storm.

The city of Spokane declared a Stage 1 snow event over the weekend and asked residents to move parked cars off arterials and bus routes to help snow plows.

Significant snow also fell elsewhere in Eastern Washington and northern Idaho with amounts varying by location and elevation.

Forecasters warn that roads will remain icy and slushy before warmer air moves into the region Monday.

Snow hits Inland Northwest Friday

Snow hits Inland Northwest Friday

Light snow is forecast through the weekend in the Inland Northwest where temperatures are expected to remain below freezing until next week.

Forecasters say this week's frigid temperatures in Washington should moderate slowly through the weekend and return to a normal weather pattern next week.

The National Weather Service says another inch or two of snow is likely Friday night and Saturday in southwest Washington, south of Tacoma, when weak systems run into lingering cold air.

In Western Washington, forecasters say rain will return next week with highs in the 40s.



Arctic air dropping temperatures in Washington

Arctic air dropping temperatures in Washington

Arctic air blowing into the Inland Northwest prompted the National Weather Service to issue a wind chill warning for the Spokane region for Wednesday morning.

Forecasters expect temperatures around zero with 10 mph to 20 mph winds, which could create a wind chill of 20 below -- enough to freeze exposed skin.

Forecasters also say cold temperatures could set records in Western Washington between Wednesday and Friday. Highs Wednesday -- when the Seahawks parade in Seattle -- and Thursday are forecast in the 30s. Seattle's record low maximum for Feb. 5 is 34 (1989) and Feb. 6 is 37 (1949).

The Weather Service says the cold should start to ease by the weekend when precipitation arrives, probably starting as snow. Forecasters say temperatures should return to normal next week.