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PHOTOS: Severe storm batters Inland Northwest

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Photo courtesy of Mariah Wollweber in Edwall Photo courtesy of Mariah Wollweber in Edwall
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KHQ.com - A severe thunderstorm moved through the Inland Northwest Tuesday afternoon. 

The storm a brought haboob-like dust storm that rolled through Ritzville area before eventually making its way through Spokane. The National Weather Service officially classified the dust cloud as a haboob.

The dust storm produced zero-visibility conditions on I-90 and the Washington State Patrol said there were multiple collisions in Adams, Lincoln and Whitman counties. Many of the collisions involved semi-trucks and cars, and one of the crashes blocked the eastbound lanes of I-90 for a short period of time. No serious injuries were reported. 

Shortly before those collisions, nearly 8,000 people were evacuated from the Grant County Fairgrounds as the violent storm made its way through the area. No injuries were reported there either. 

The storm did knock out power to at least 10,000 Avista customers at its peak. Inland Power and light reported more than 3,700 customers without power during the height of the storm. For additional information and the current power outages in the area from the various power companies, click on the links below. 

Though the official cause has not been determined, four buildings burned to the ground near Mead shortly after lightning moved through the area. 

If you have any pictures you'd like to add to the storm slideshow posted above this story, please email them to newstips@khq.com 

POWER OUTAGE WEBSITES:

For the latest numbers on power outages across the region, CLICK on the link that applies to you:

AVISTA: https://www.avistautilities.com/safety/_layouts/avista/transactions/viewoutages.aspx

KOOTENAI ELECTRIC: http://www.kec.com/content/power-outage-updates

PEND OREILLE PUD: http://popud.org/

INLAND POWER AND LIGHT: http://outagecenter.inlandpower.com/outagecenterNEW.php

Red Flag Warning: Basically the entire Pacific Northwest is under a Red Flag Warning due to the elevated fire risk caused by these thunderstorms. Frequent lightning could spark new fires and strong wind gusts would help these fires spread very quickly.

Flash Flood Watch: In place over the recently burned areas of the N. Cascades. Thunderstorms bring the chance of brief but heavy downpours of rain that would run right over the top burn scars and cause flash flooding and debris flows. Right now, it's in place until 11PM Thursday night, with the chance of afternoon thunderstorms each day until then.

A Look Ahead:  A large area of low pressure will move onto the west coast of Oregon tomorrow and then very slowly move across the PacNW through Friday. That'll bring a chance of afternoon thunderstorms each day through Friday, it'll also bring cooler temps.

 

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