Wind kicks up dust, but not much havoc

Monday's storm knocked down tree limbs and two power lines locally.



Holding her hood steady in the gusting wind, a woman crosses the Spokane Street bridge over the Mille Creek channel as rain drops begin to fall near noon on Tuesday. Predicted high winds arrived Tuesday late morning and lasted throughout the evening tearing down trees and branches and blowing dust throughout the area. Tuesday, May 3, 2010

A powerful spring storm packing winds stronger than 60 mph blew down trees in Western Washington, kicked up dust storms in Eastern Washington and at one point knocked out power for more than 40,000 utility customers across Washington and into north Idaho on Monday.

In Walla Walla, despite an afternoon filled with strong gales, Walla Walla Fire Department Deputy Chief Bob Yancey said it was a relatively quiet day Monday.

His agency responded to two downed power lines, one at Bryant Avenue and Woodlawn Street knocked down by a loosed tree branch, the other at Isaacs Avenue and Bellevue Street. No injuries were reported to his agency in connection to the winds or knocked down lines, he said.

Downed trees and power lines temporarily closed a number of streets in Spokane, which was also hit by blowing dust. At Riverfront Park, the SkyRide over Spokane Falls was temporarily shut down due to the high winds.

The winds did alter afternoon schedules for some schools. Dayton schools released students a couple of hours early Monday. The Milton-Freewater School District canceled some sports programs because of the storm.

In central Washington, blowing dust prompted the temporary closure of two state highways and a handful of county roads in Grant and Franklin counties.

The dust storms were blamed for a number of traffic crashes in central Washington, including in Yakima County. In Benton County, Prosser Mayor Paul Warden urged residents to avoid driving Monday afternoon due to limited visibility.

There were no immediate reports of serious injuries.

In Auburn, south of Seattle, a power failure canceled classes at Green River Community College.

The storm dumped snow on Stevens Pass in the Cascade Mountains. On Monday evening, thunderstorms were reported in communities east of Seattle.

The National Weather Service had a winter storm warning in effect until 6 a.m. today.


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