Thousands lacking power for more than a week in Washington to spend Thanksgiving in dark, cold

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SPOKANE, Washington — Thousands of households around Washington state's second-largest city faced a cold, dark Thanksgiving, worsening more than a week of misery for those who lost power when a windstorm devastated the electrical grid.

About 11,900 customers still lacked electricity early Wednesday, and crews were working around the clock to make repairs as temperatures plunged and winds were expected to pick up.

Scott Morris, the chairman of Avista, the region's largest utility, estimated that some 5,000 customers will not have power to bake turkeys and pumpkin pies Thursday. And there will be no holiday for more than 700 workers from six states and Canada.

"Our crews and support staff will be working through the Thanksgiving holiday, and we will do what it takes to restore power to every last customer," Morris said at a press conference Tuesday.

A windstorm Nov. 17 packed hurricane-force winds that toppled power poles and cracked trees, sending them crashing onto cars and killing three people in the state. More than 180,000 Avista customers lost power at the storm's peak.

Much of the remaining work involves stringing power lines or replacing power poles to individual residences or small pockets of homes. At times, crews were digging holes by hand for new power poles in hard-to-reach areas, Avista officials have said.

Local charities and other organizations plan to serve those still in the dark after they woke up to icy streets and temperatures in the 20s Wednesday. Mayor David Condon said door-to-door checks would continue through the holiday weekend.

"Please know that you have not been forgotten," Condon said.

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