Nevada County shutoff: PG&E begins power restoration, OES says
UPDATE at 8:33 a.m. Monday (Oct. 28):
PG&E has given the “all-clear” and begun restoration of power lines in Nevada County as of 7 a.m., according to the Nevada County Office of Emergency Services.
“Duration of restoration will be dependent on level of damages sustained during the wind event,” the OES stated. “Downed power lines and trees may likely impact rate of restoration.”
We want to continue to remind people that once your power is restored, take the opportunity to prepare for the next possible event. Fire weather conditions are predicted Tuesday through Wednesday with the possibility for another Public Safety Power Shutoff.— Nevada County OES (@NevCoOES) October 28, 2019
UPDATE at 5:08 p.m. Saturday
PG&E has started cutting power across Nevada County.
Power is off in the area of Running M Drive in South County, and Tracy Drive and Retrac Road. This outage is expected to last until at least Monday.
UPDATE at 9:35 a.m. Saturday
From Nevada County OES:
PG&E has confirmed that they plan to turn off power to Nevada County residents at 2 p.m. today. This has moved up an hour from the 3pm time PG&E announced yesterday. PG&E is currently estimating the “all-clear” to begin inspecting lines at 6 a.m. Monday, but duration of restoration will be dependent on level of damages sustained during the wind event. Downed power lines and trees may likely impact rate of restoration.
UPDATE at 6:30 p.m. Friday
Another power shutoff is possible Saturday and could last until late Monday or longer, PG&E said.
PG&E officials said a decision will occur around 8 a.m. Saturday about whether to cut power to some 850,000 customers across a wide swath of California, including over 43,000 customers in Nevada County. If the Public Safety Power Shutoff is implemented, people in parts of 36 counties will lose power for 48 hours or longer.
If the shutoff happens, customers in Grass Valley, Nevada City, Chicago Park, Penn Valley, Rough And Ready, Norden, North San Juan, Smartsville, Soda Springs and Washington would lose power around 3 p.m. Saturday.
UPDATE at 4:05 p.m. Friday:
NWS Sacramento: Video Briefing for Extreme Fire Danger Oct 26-28
UPDATE at 3:52 p.m. Friday:
The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning from 11 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 26) to 11 a.m. Monday (Oct. 18) for extreme fire weather for Nevada County, according to the Nevada County Office of Emergency Services.
Due to the Red Flag Warning, public information officer for the emergency operations center Taylor Wolfe would like to remind the community what the HiLo Evacuation Sirens sound like. Video below:
UPDATE at 3:15 p.m. Friday:
From a PG&E release: Approximately 850,000 customers notified that they may be impacted beginning Saturday evening
SAN FRANCISCO —Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today said it continues to monitor a potentially powerful and widespread dry, hot and windy weather event expected to begin impacting the service area Saturday between 6 and 10 p.m. and lasting until midday Monday.
PG&E will need to turn off power for safety several hours before the potentially damaging winds arrive. It’s important to note that as this weather system sweeps from north to south over a period of two days, PG&E customers across Northern and Central California will feel the effects of hot, dry winds at different times, which means outage times will vary, as well.
The potential Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) is expected to affect approximately 850,000 customers and may impact portions of 36 counties across portions of Humboldt, the Sierra foothills, Western Sacramento Valley, North Bay, and across the greater Bay area, Monterey Bay and northern Central Coast on Saturday, Oct. 26. Customers in the southern-most portion of PG&E’s service area in Kern County could have power shut off for safety on Sunday, Oct. 27.
Predictive data models indicate the weather event could be the most powerful in California in decades, with widespread dry Northeast winds between 45-60 miles per hour (mph) and peak gusts of 60-70 mph in the higher elevations.
Winds of this magnitude pose a higher risk of damage and sparks on the electric system and rapid wildfire spread. The fire risk is even higher because vegetation on the ground has been dried out by recent wind events.
Given the forecast and conditions, PG&E is advising its customers of the potential for a widespread PSPS lasting several days, intended to prevent a catastrophic wildfire. As this intense weather event approaches the service area in the next 24 hours, PG&E’s forecasts will offer sharper detail, noting that the scope may continue to change on the number of customers who will be affected.
The outages are expected to impact 43,211 PG&E customers in Nevada County, as well as 1,822 medical baseline customers. Areas include: Chicago Park, Grass Valley, Nevada City, Norden, North San Juan, Penn Valley, Rough And Ready, Smartsville, Soda Springs, Washington.
UPDATE 1:56 p.m. Friday:
From PG&E’s website:
“The all clear was given in Kern county near noon today and crews are now patrolling lines to re-energize. All attention now turns a major offshore wind event expected to unfold this weekend into Monday across northern and southern California. Unfortunately, this system will be right on the heels of the most recent event and fuels will be critically dry and receptive for fire. In addition, this system will be the strongest of the year and likely will be stronger than the October 2017 northern CA fire event. This event has potential and energy to be the strongest in years. Northern Operations Predictive services is projecting ”an unusually strong 99th percentile” event, and the National Weather Service Bay Area has stated ”this will be a long duration and potentially extreme/historic event across the North Bay”. PG&E Meteorology’s analyses of forecasted pressure gradients from the ECMWF weather model suggest a near 1 in 15 year return period event. Fire Weather Watches and Red Flag Warnings as well as Wind Warnings have been issued for most areas north of a Monterey to Yosemite line valid from Saturday afternoon through Monday morning and will likely be upgraded to Red Flag Warning status later this afternoon. Please refer to weather.gov, https://gacc.nifc.gov/oncc/, or https://gacc.nifc.gov/oscc/ for the latest updates from federal forecast agencies. As a result of the critical fire weather conditions, Zones 2, 3, 4 and 5 are now in a PSPS Watch for Saturday and all Zones are either in a PSPS Watch or elevated PSPS status for Sunday and Monday. The PG&E Emergency Operations Center remains activated to monitor and prepare for the event.
Details: Later tomorrow morning, northerly winds will increase down the Sacramento Valley and then become strong while shifting to a northeasterly direction after sunset. Strong northeasterly winds are expected to spread southward through the evening and peak in strength during the overnight hours. Widespread gusts in the 45-60 mph range are possible, with peak gusts in excess of 70 mph in the highest elevations. Gusty winds will continue through the day Sunday and overnight into Monday before decreasing later Monday morning. This Diablo wind event will encompass most of the PG&E territory generally north of a Santa Cruz to Sonora line and widespread wind damage is anticipated. Sunday into Monday, Santa Ana winds are also expected to develop across southern CA. Dead fuel moistures are expected to fall near historical low values with the upcoming event and live fuel moisture remains at or below critical values, making them highly susceptible to ignition and explosive spread.”
UPDATE at 6 p.m. Thursday:
PG&E said Thursday evening that it’s preparing for a large-scale power shutoff this weekend that could be longer than the outage two weeks ago.
The shutoff, anticipated because of strong winds starting Saturday night, would affect the Sierra Foothills. No specific times or areas were discussed during the Thursday press event.
UPDATE at 3:30 p.m. Thursday: From a release
SAN FRANCISCO — Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) reported that the company issued weather “all clears” for most counties within its service area currently impacted by Wednesday’s Public Safety Power Shutoff.
Current Restoration for Oct. 23 PSPS
As wind conditions improved this morning, at 9:45 a.m., a weather “all clear” was issued for customers in San Mateo county and those counties south of Interstate 80.
For customers in the North Bay and Sierra foothills above Interstate 80, PG&E has now issued an “all clear” and will begin inspections. We will continue to monitor conditions for the remaining customers impacted by this safety shutoff in Kern County where windy weather conditions are expected to continue until Friday midday.
PG&E expects all customers to be restored by Friday night or sooner, pending any damage found on the system.
Safety patrols and inspections, which take place largely during daylight hours, will proceed throughout the day today and begin again at daybreak on Friday. More than 5,800 on-the-ground field personnel have been deployed and 42 helicopters are staged in the impacted areas. Helicopter inspections may be impacted by the Kincade firefighting efforts in Sonoma County.
PG&E is also closely following a potentially strong, widespread dry offshore wind event on Saturday that is significant in scope and could impact the Sierra Foothills, North Bay, Peninsula, Central Coast, East Bay and Humboldt.
PG&E expects all customers impacted by Wednesday’s (Oct 23) PSPS event to have their power restored prior to the second potential PSPS event over the weekend. Some customers who will be restored today and tomorrow from this first event may also be included in this separate event this weekend. Customers should prepare by fully charging their communications, medical and other devices while the power remains on.
Late last night, CAL FIRE reported the Kincade fire broke out in the vicinity of Geyserville in Sonoma County near the area currently shut off for a PSPS. PG&E is working with authorities to gather additional information. There are currently approximately 27,800 customers without power in portions of Sonoma County, who had their power turned off for safety as part of the Public Safety Power Shutoff event. This area was de-energized by 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23.
How Customers Can Prepare
In addition, PG&E is asking customers to:
- Update their contact information by calling 1-866-743-6589 during normal business hours. PG&E will use this information to alert customers through automated calls, texts and emails, when possible, prior to and during, a Public Safety Power Shutoff.
- Plan for medical needs like medications that require refrigeration or devices that need power.
- Identify backup charging methods for phones and keep hard copies of emergency numbers.
- Build or restock their emergency kits with flashlights, fresh batteries, first aid supplies and cash.
- Keep in mind family members who are elderly, younger children and pets.
- Learn more about wildfire risk and what to do before, during and after an emergency to keep their families safe at PG&E’s Safety Action Center.
While customers in high fire-threat areas are more likely to be affected by a Public Safety Power Shutoff event, any of PG&E’s more than 5 million electric customers could have their power shut off because the energy system relies on power lines working together to provide electricity across cities, counties and regions.
PG&E has opened 28 Community Resource Centers on Wednesday in areas where power was shut off. These centers will remain open in impacted areas throughout the PSPS to provide water, phone charging stations, air-conditioned seating for up to 100 people and restrooms. To view the current list, click here.
During the PSPS, customers in impacted areas will not be billed, and PG&E has paused disconnection and collection activities in these areas.
Customers can visit pge.com/pspsupdates for more information.
UPDATE at 2:42 p.m. Thursday:
PG&E has begun restoration and re-energization of power lines in Nevada County as of 11 a.m, according to the Nevada County Office of Emergency Services. This is earlier then their anticipated “All Clear” time and they continue to feel confident that most residents will have power back by tonight with all of Nevada County back on by tomorrow night, the OES stated.
“We want to continue to remind people that once your power is restored, take the opportunity to prepare for the next possible event,” the OES stated on their website. “Extreme fire weather conditions are predicted Saturday through Monday with the possibility for another Public Safety Power Shutoff. Refuel cars and generators, stock up on supplies and withdraw cash while the ATM’s have power. Make sure your Go Bag is ready and your car is parked towards the road, and take a moment to check in with friends, family and neighbors to see if they have any needs you may be able to help with.”
UPDATE at 11:50 a.m. Thursday:
PG&E has received the weather “all clear” for Nevada County, according to the Nevada County Office of Emergency Services. PG&E crews are inspecting lines for potential weather-related damage before restoring power, the OES states.
UPDATE at 9:29 a.m. Thursday:
Sierra College’s Grass Valley campus is open today for class.
The Nevada County Airport and Grass Valley Library are open, according to county OES.
UPDATE at 8:31 a.m. Thursday:
The Nevada County Courthouse is closed today. If power is restored today, it will open Friday. If not, it will reopen Monday.
UPDATE 8:15 a.m. Thursday:
According to the Nevada County Office of Emergency Services, PG&E is watching a possible weather event beginning Saturday. Another Public Safety Power Shutoff is possible for Saturday evening lasting through Monday afternoon.
PG&E has established an “Elevated” status for this event and will provide updates throughout the day today, the OES stated.
UPDATE 8:15 a.m. Thursday:
Parts of Grass Valley have been re-energized, according to the Nevada County Office of Emergency Services. The sections are classified by PG&E as Tier 1, which means the power lines are low fire risk (such as underground lines), and are high priority areas (such as hospitals and skilled nursing facilities), the OES states.
These ares include:
• Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital
• Litton Hill (including BriarPatch)
• Fowler Center (including B&C)
• Parts of Glenbrook Basin
• Historic Downtown Grass Valley (Mill & Main St)
• Safeway on S Auburn St.
• Gas Stations on Old Nevada City Highway
• Grocery Outlet
• Grass Valley City Hall
• Grass Valley Police Department
• Grass Valley Veterans Hall
UPDATE 7:24 a.m. Thursday:
From a release: Sierra College Nevada County Campus in Grass Valley is open today, Thursday, October 24 for classes.
UPDATE at 1:18 p.m. Wednesday
From county OES:
An additional Community Resource Center will be open tomorrow, 10/24 from 8AM to 8PM at Nevada City Elks Lodge at 518 CA-49 in Nevada City, CA.
The centers in Nevada County will be located at:
• Nevada City Elks Lodge: 518 CA-49, Nevada City, CA
• Sierra College: 250 Sierra College Dr, Grass Valley, CA
• Former Penn Valley Community Church: 11739 Spenceville Road, Penn Valley, CA
• Gold Country Fairgrounds: 209 Fairgate Rd, Auburn, CA
See more updates at:https://211connectingpoint.org/ncpsps/
UPDATE at 9:55 a.m. Wednesday
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) confirmed this morning its plan to move forward with a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) in portions of the Sierra Foothills and North Bay, as well as small parts of San Mateo and Kern counties. This PSPS decision was based on forecasts of dry, hot and windy weather that poses a higher risk for damage and sparks on the electric system and rapid wildfire spread.
The shutoff is expected to impact approximately 179,000 customers in 17 counties: Nevada, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Kern, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Placer, Plumas, San Mateo, Sierra, Sonoma, Tehama and Yuba.
For a list of impacted customer counts and cities per county, see http://www.pge.com/pspsupdates.
Timeline for safety shutoffs
Here’s the approximate timeline that customers can expect:
· The shutoffs are expected to begin around 2 p.m. in the Sierra Foothills, 3 p.m. in the North Bay counties, and approximately 1 a.m. Thursday in affected areas of San Mateo and Kern counties.
· Forecasts indicate the peak period of winds should end about noon Thursday in the Sierra Foothills, North Bay and San Mateo County, and around noon Friday in Kern County.
· Once the high winds subside, PG&E will inspect the de-energized lines to ensure they were not damaged during the wind event, and then restore power. PG&E will safely restore power in stages as quickly as possible, with the goal of restoring the vast majority of customers within 48 hours after the weather has passed.
Customer notifications and impact
The company notified potentially impacted customers on Monday (48 hours prior) and again on Tuesday (24 hours prior), and will continue to notify, via automated calls, texts and emails—for those customers who’ve provided their contact information to PG&E.
It’s important to remember that customers not impacted by the PSPS may experience power outages due to PG&E equipment damaged during this wind event; those customers will not be notified in advance.
It is also very possible that customers may be affected by a power shutoff even though they are not experiencing extreme weather conditions in their specific location. This is because the electric system relies on power lines working together to provide electricity across cities, counties and regions.
Community Resource Centers
To support customers in the affected areas, PG&E will open several Community Resource Centers. Restrooms, bottled water, electronic-device charging and air-conditioned seating for up to 100 will be available at these facilities. Locations are below, and more are being confirmed. View the most updated list of center locations at http://www.pge.com/pspsupdates.
UPDATE at 9:20 a.m. Wednesday
The Nevada County Office of Emergency Services says western Nevada County will be affected by a planned shutoff:
PG&E has confirmed that they will be turning off power for much of Western Nevada County around 2PM today, 10/23. Restoration is forecast to begin at noon on Thursday, 10/24. Full restoration is expected by sundown Friday 10/25 with majority of residents receiving power by Thursday night.
UPDATE at 3:06 p.m.
The Nevada County Office of Emergency Services has tweeted the following:
PG&E has issued a Public Safety Power Shutoff Watch for Wednesday, October 23, 2019 until Thursday, October 24, 2019 at 12:00 P.M affecting much of Western Nevada County. If fire weather conditions persist, PG&E may shut power off beginning at 2:00PM Wednesday, October 23, 2019.
UPDATE at 11:05 a.m.
PG&E tweeted the following Tuesday morning:
ADVISORY: For about 45 minutes this morning, some customers were having trouble accessing our website. We worked with our third-party solution providers to address the issue. #PSPS information here: http://pge.com/pspsupdates
The link wasn’t working at 11:05 a.m.
PG&E says over 42,000 Nevada County customers could lose power on Wednesday, if the utility opts to implement a Public Safety Power Shutoff.
Customers in Grass Valley, Nevada City, Penn Valley, Rough And Ready, Chicago Park, North San Juan, Soda Springs and Washington could have their power cut starting around 2 p.m. Wednesday, PG&E has said.
Strong winds starting Wednesday are the impetus for the possible shutdown.
“The primary focus for strong winds will be in the mid-elevations and foothills in the Sierra,” PG&E’s website stated.
Check back for more on this story.
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