A day in the life of the powerless - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

A day in the life of the powerless

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Parts of the South Hill are still shrouded in darkness nearly a week after the power went out following record windstorms in the Inland Northwest. Parts of the South Hill are still shrouded in darkness nearly a week after the power went out following record windstorms in the Inland Northwest.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Parts of the South Hill are still shrouded in darkness nearly a week after the power went out following record windstorms in the Inland Northwest.  For some of us it's unfathomable what it's like to live without power for that long.

George Coleman walked me through his chilly house Monday morning to show us what those folks have been going through.  He says the neighborhood used to be a quiet one until the lights went out and now all you hear is the hum of portable generators as people try to keep warm.   

"It's not as cold as it has been," says George Coleman. "Inside today is 40 degrees."

That was at 11:30 in the morning.  It was cold enough inside the Coleman house that you could see your breath, and at night it's worse.

"If I had to guess it's probably 35."  

George Coleman isn't alone.  Many people on the South Hill are doing whatever they can to survive until power is restored.

Coleman's neighbors had a fire pit in their yard because they said it was warmer to sit outside with the fire than to be in the house.   

"Here's what we've been keeping warm with," says Coleman as he shows us a propane heater he's been using in his kitchen.    

A little bit of relief from the bitter nights, but nothing like what the Coleman's are used to.   

"The fact is that we didn't take showers or cook anything obviously," says Coleman.  "I was thinking I should offer you a cup of coffee but it's pretty stale and cold. 

Unfortunately it isn't just that coffee that's gone bad.  Coleman shows us the inside of his two refrigerators and freezer.  "All of this stuff is going to go in the garbage.  Can you imagine, throwing Ben and Jerry's away?"

At least his sense of humor is still intact but it hasn't been easy for the couple who both have some health issues.   

"My wife and I would put on sweats, as many layers as we could and come in here," Coleman says showing us the bedroom.  They toughed it out for four days in the dark, cold house until finally on Saturday night it became too much to bear and they had to leave.    

But the Colemans have a good outlook.  "We are still blessed,"  says George.  "I'm sure of that, but what I'm even more sure of is that we're not victims."

He also says this isn't the worst they've gone through.  During ice storm in 1996 they lost power for nine days.

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