Weather keeps residents inside in rural areas

'If you don't have to go somewhere, don't. If you have to go somewhere, don't.'

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How has the recent icy weather affected the Valley? Check out the community reactions and photos below the story.

Like a fancy cake, Garfield County is covered with alternating layers of ice and snow, causing communications officer Lynn Lyle to advise residents: "If you don't have to go somewhere, don't. If you have to go somewhere, don't."

With the exception of one fatal crash on U.S. Highway 12, numerous minor wrecks have not resulted in injuries, she said.

Heavy snow and ice contributed to power failures in Garfield and Columbia County.

Forty-one Inland Power customers were without power in northern Garfield County for as long as six hours, according to the Spokane-based company's website. The failures were caused by problems with power lines.

Columbia REA spokesman Doug Case said about a dozen members of the cooperative had been without power for up to three hours in western Walla Walla County and Columbia County. Most of the failures occurred in the late afternoon Thursday, and service was restored by 10 p.m.

Ice over about eight inches of snow contributed to numerous calls in Dayton for downed branches, trees and snapped utility lines, Columbia County dispatcher Dian McClurg said today.

As in Garfield County, there have been a number of vehicle slide-offs, but no reports of injury crashes, McClurg said.

People are choosing to stay home, resulting in canceled medical appointments, Columbia County Health System CEO Charlie Button said this morning. Button said he did not think the hospital has seen an upswing in weather-related admissions, probably because "people are staying in."

"We're encouraging people to stay home," Button said.

Carrie Chicken can be reached at cec@innw.net or 522-5289.

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