Thunderstorm left homes without power Monday, schools closed

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Posted: Monday, September 16, 2013 9:32 am

EPHRATA – Moses Lake schools were closed and numerous communities still waiting for power Monday morning after a severe thunderstorm swept through Grant County Sunday night.

There were no reported injuries or deaths related to the storm, according to Grant County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Kyle Foreman.

About 43 percent of Grant County PUD customers lost power. Grant PUD Public Affairs Officer Thomas Stredwick said the early rough estimate is 17,000 customers went without electricity.

Most saw the power restored late Sunday night, but a number of communities were still waiting Monday morning.

“This is a longer outage than we typically have,” said Stredwick. “We had to call in five more crews from outside of the area to help restore power.”

Nineteen power poles need to be replaced in an area near Moses Lake, south of Interstate 90. Some poles were snapped and others had the lines tangled with the high winds from the storm, according to Stredwick.

Power restoration in the Ephrata and Soap Lake areas was delayed until Monday because six power poles needed to be replaced.

A substation, in the Shrag Rugg area near Wilson Creek, was damaged during the storm and needing repairs, Stredwick added.

The impact of the storm led the Moses Lake School District to close schools for Monday.

“Due to live power lines (being) down across the community; school is closed today … Schools will resume normal operations Tuesday,” the school district announced.

Moses Lake Christian School was also closed.

“May God bless all of the workers who are cleaning up and restoring power to our city,” stated a spokesperson for the Christian school.

The Grant County PUD stated they were working to restore power Monday to:

  • Schrag Ruff area, Wilson Creek
  • Pelican Point, Moses Lake
  • Sand dunes area, Moses Lake
  • Lakeview Golf and Country Club area, Soap Lake
  • Westmont Acres, Ephrata
  • Shady Acres, Ephrata
  • Areas of Warden

High winds and heavy rainfall from the storm caused power outages in Moses Lake, Ephrata, Warden, Soap Lake, Royal City, Wilson Creek and Mae Valley, according to the Grant County PUD.

Some roads were closed Sunday night as crews were clearing away trees and storm debris, according to Foreman. Wheeler Road, about four miles east of Moses Lake, was closed while power lines are down and across the road.

PUD crews, firefighters and police were busy trying to help with the blocked roads and downed power lines throughout Sunday night and into Monday morning. There were reports of trees being blow over throughout Grant County.

Administrators for fire districts, fire departments and some law enforcement were unavailable for comments Monday morning.

Before the storm hit, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warned of the thunderstorm earlier on Sunday and stated Grant County would see heavy rainfall, damaging winds, small to moderate hail “and abundant lightning.” The government agency also warned of potential for flash flooding and a remote chance for a tornado.

The storm front passed through Washington state from the south Sunday night. Lightning was reported throughout the state and caused an hour delay of the NFL football game in Seattle. 

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