National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Strong winds moved into eastern Washington and the Idaho Panhandle on the Monday May 3rd and continued into the evening hours. The winds caused widespread damage. The list of effects from this storm include:

  • Downed Trees.
  • Widespread power line damage.
  • Overturned semi-tractor trailers near Vantage, Wa. and the Memorial Bridge in north Idaho on Interstate 90.
  • Blowing dust restricting visibility to less than 1/4 of a mile at times.
  • Closed interstates and highways due to accidents and blowing dust.
  • Minor to significant roof damage.
  • Building and vehicle destruction due to winds and falling trees.

The highest sustained winds were clocked between 35 and 45 mph in the lower elevations with the highest measured gust at 64 mph at Shirod Hill (Nez Perce county, Idaho). Winds topped 80 mph on exposed ridges in the mountains.

For more wind report information:

Wind Gust Map - Click map for larger image.

Peak Wind Map - Click for larger map 

Here are some wind damage pictures around the region.

Garage Damage
Garage damage on 31st - Spokane, WA

Roof damage
Roof damage - Colbert, WA

Downed Tree
Downed tree in Ritzville, WA

Car hit by a tree
Car hit by a tree.

Tree lights and car
Tree hits traffic light and a car.

A Semi was toppled on the Interstate 90 Memorial Bridge in north Idaho. 

Blowing Dust

Blowing dust was the cause of several vehicle accidents and road closures across Washington's Central Basin. The dust severely restricted visibilities on Interstate 90 as well as several adjoining highways between approximately 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. PST.

According to satellite estimates, the dust reached as high as 4.5 km into the atmosphere.

Blowing dust
Blowing dust across a highway.

Dust storm at Dodson Road - Click for animation.

Blowing dust at Interstate 90 and Dodson road west of Moses Lake, WA. Click on the image above for an animated sequence that shows the onset of the blinding dust and dissipation later in the afternoon. Images courtesy of the Washington DOT.

 Below are some very detailed satellite images of the dust storm from NASA's MODIS satellite project.MODIS Image of blowing dust. Click for larger image.

Dust can be seen extending from the columbia river curving northeast near Spokane, Washington. and Coeur d'Alene, Idaho at 12:44 p.m. PST. Click on the image above to get the full size picture.

 NASA MODIS image of blowing dust. Click for larger image.

Here is another MODIS image at 2:29 p.m. PST. The blowing dust moved well east of Moses Lake, Washington and had a more west to east orientation thus impacting more of the Washington and Idaho Palouse regions. Click the image above for a full size picture.