A severe thunderstorm struck the Treasure Valley shortly after 5 p.m., bringing wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour, dropping .36 inch of rain in less than an hour and knocking out electricity to at least 8,000 Idaho Power customers in Boise.
"It came in pretty quick," said Bill Wojcik, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "We got lightning, heavy rain and heavy wind."
The wind knocked over trees that brought down power lines in pockets throughout Boise. Areas affected included portions of Downtown, the Boise Bench, the Parkcenter Area and a swath between Orchard and Milwaukee streets. The Idaho Statesman was among businesses affected by the outage, before electricity was restored at 6:45 p.m.
The outage dimmed signal lights throughout the affected areas. On North Curtis Road across from Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, traffic slowed to a crawl as motorists stopped at a series of stoplights before proceeding between Emerald Street and Fairview Avenue.
"We have crews at all of the outages," said Kevin Winslow, an Idaho Power spokesman, but he could not predict when service will be restored to all of those affected.
The company called in its emergency crews as well as some from outside the area. More outages are expected later on in the utility's service area, he said.
"The storm is moving east toward Pocatello, so it's going to be a long night for us."
Winslow asked residents to treat downed power lines with extreme caution. People should stay as far away from them as possible.
A low pressure ridge from California blew north into southern Idaho and eastern Oregon, bringing the unsettled weather. Severe weather warnings were issued in western Owyhee County in Idaho and Oregon's Harney County.
Additional thunderstorms are expected to move into the Treasure Valley later this evening, Wojcik said.
"We're not out of the woods yet," he said before 7 p.m.
The forecast for Friday looks drier, he said. The overnight low is predicted to dip to 63 degrees, with Friday's high expected to reach 89.