SPOKANE, Wash. - Tens of thousands of people who have been shivering for nearly a week without power after deadly storms swept through Washington state were bracing for snowfall Monday and the possibility of preparing Thanksgiving dinner in the dark.
A major windstorm last Tuesday damaged the electrical grid in Spokane, the state's second-largest city.
Winds topping 70 m.p.h. in the Northwest snapped power poles and toppled trees that crashed through roofs and crushed cars. Three people died when trees fell on their vehicles, and heavy rains flooded roadways and homes.
More storms were expected to worsen the plight of more than 29,000 customers in Spokane County who have been living without heat and light amid subfreezing temperatures - the forecast calls for snow and wind chills dropping into the single digits Monday night. Stores sold out of firewood as people used wood stoves to heat their homes.
Janet Gray, 42, of Spokane, gave up living in her house when the thermostat hit 38 degrees and moved to a hotel.
Despite the cold, food she bought for Thanksgiving spoiled and she called off dinner plans with relatives who planned to travel from western Washington for the holiday.
"All our food for Thanksgiving is ruined," she said. "For now, it's canceled."