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Spokane windstorm 2021: Two dead, 130 fallen trees at city parks

A 71-mph wind gust recorded at the Spokane International Airport on Wednesday morning makes the 2021 windstorm as strong as the historic storm in 2015.

SPOKANE, Wash. — A deadly windstorm in the Spokane area left widespread damage in its wake on Wednesday.

A 71-mph gust recorded at the Spokane International Airport makes the 2021 windstorm as strong as the historic storm in 2015 that led Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a state of emergency. The storm killed two people and left 200,000 people without power for days.  

Coeur d'Alene recorded a wind gust of 61 mph on Wednesday morning.

Two people were killed by fallen trees during the storm.

A woman died after a tree fell on her car on Spokane's South Hill on Wednesday morning and a Post Falls man, 59, was also killed when a tree hit his car while he was driving on Highway 97 in North Idaho. 

The woman was later identified as 42-year-old Melanie Sandborn, a pediatrician at Shriners Hospital. The man was identified as Jon Snider.

Downed trees fell on homes and cars across the Inland Northwest and blocked roads. The storm also left tens of thousands of people in the area without power and the outages could last for multiple days.

The strongest winds were felt early Wednesday morning. Winds slowly died down throughout day, but strong wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph were still felt during the afternoon hours. 

KREM provided live updates on the windstorm and its aftermath. They are available to read below. 

Here's what you need to know right now:

Two killed, another injured in Spokane area during windstorm; trees fall into homes and cars

Tree branch nearly impales Spokane woman sleeping in bed

Over 97K without power amid high winds

Iconic butterfly in Riverfront Park falls over in high winds

Downed trees, power lines block roads in Spokane area

4:43 p.m.: Highway 395 near Clayton reopens after downed power lines and a power pole blocked the road.

3:30 p.m.: The City of Spokane said it has received dozens of reports of trees or branches in roads and about 130 have come down in city parks. Some trees and broken branches remain at risk of falling. 

The city said some trees have been completely uprooted and could have impacted underground utilities. Similar tree risks remain in neighborhoods. 

3:30 p.m.: A man was killed on Highway 97, just east of Coeur d'Alene and four miles south of I-90, according to Idaho State Police. ISP said Jon Snider, 59, of Post Falls was headed north on Highway 97 at about 8 a.m. when a tree came off the hillside adjacent to the highway and hit his car. 

Snider drove over the embankment off the highway toward Lake Coeur d'Alene, ISP reported. He died from his injuries at the scene. 

2:30 p.m.: Power outages across the Inland Northwest have decreased to more than 97,000. 

2:15 p.m.: The City of Spokane will provide free disposal of trees and tree limbs. 

Solid Waste Collection will provide curbside clean green pickup the week of Jan. 18 for customers who subscribe to that service. Free disposal also will be available at the Waste to Energy Facility (WTE), 2900 S. Geiger Blvd., starting Friday, Jan. 15, and running through Saturday, Jan. 30.

Tree debris from the storm can be placed in green yard waste carts for pickup on customers’ normal garbage collection days during the week of Jan. 18.

12:30 p.m.: Power outages across the Inland Northwest have increased to 103,000.

12:04 p.m.: Highway 395 is closed in both directions near Clayton due to power lines and a power pole over the road, according to a tweet from the Washington State Department of Transportation's Eastern region. This is near Railroad Road north of Deer Park. 

10:30 a.m.: Two lanes of westbound I-90 west of the Highway 2 interchange were closed due to power lines in the road. The road has since reopened. 

9:38 a.m.: There are trees and power lines down in the City of Rathdrum on Highway 41 at Coeur d'Alene Street. Rathdrum Police is redirecting traffic, but asks any oversized load or semi-trucks with double or triple trailers avoid the area and take an alternate route.

9:20 a.m.: Two trees have fallen in front of Showalter Hall at Eastern Washington University in Cheney.

9:17 a.m.: Trees have fallen into cars at 16th and Grand Avenues on the South Hill and are blocking the road.

9:17 a.m.: A KREM 2 viewer is reporting multiple downed trees at Coeur d'Alene Park in Spokane's Browne's Addition neighborhood. 

9:00 a.m.: A tree fell into a home at 5th and I streets in Cheney. 

8:06 a.m.: Kootenai County Sheriff's Office is asking people to only call 911 for emergencies. The agency says its dispatch center is being overrun with reports of downed trees and other weather-related events. The sheriff's office has received more than 400 calls for service as a result of the storm.

7:55 a.m.: Spokane police confirmed that a person died after a tree fell on their car at 27th Avenue and Post Street on the South Hill. SPD is encouraging people to stay home and be aware of downed trees and powerlines if they have to go out during the storm.

7:49 a.m.: The 71-mph gust at Spokane International Airport makes the 2021 windstorm as strong as the historic 2015 storm. 

6:15 a.m.: A woman was rescued from her home in Spokane after she was trapped by a fallen tree. Spokane County Fire District 8 later said she was injured and taken to the hospital. 

4:00 a.m.: Power outages began to occur on Avista’s system at 4:00 a.m. with both transmission and distribution systems impacted.