PG&E: Power may be shut off to portions of Nevada County due to Wednesday wind event
UPDATE TUESDAY 8:43 A.M.:
From PG&E’s website:
“A strong north or northeast wind event is expected to develop late this evening and into early Thursday across the northern half of the PG&E territory. There is still some uncertainty regarding the strength and humidity levels with this event and short term changes should be expected moving forward. The National Weather Service (NWS) has upgraded Fire Weather Watches to Red Flag Warnings for many areas across central and northern California from 4 AM tomorrow until 7 AM Thursday due to the critical fire conditions and potential for rapidly spreading fires. Northern Operations Predictive Services is forecasting a high risk event and increased potential for significant fires due to these dry and gusty winds. 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 potential critical fire weather conditions, Geographic Zones 2, 3, 4 and 5 remain under a PSPS Watch for tomorrow and into Thursday. The PG&E Emergency Operations Center remains activated to monitor and prepare for the event.”
Nevada County falls under Zone 5.
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UPDATE 2:29 P.M.:
The communities in Nevada County expected to be impacted by the possible upcoming PSPS include: Emigrant Gap, Grass Valley, Nevada City, Norden, North San Juan, Penn Valley, Rough and Ready, Soda Springs and Washington, according to PG&E’s website.
A map of the areas that may be impacted can be found here.
From a release:
SAN FRANCISCO — Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) Emergency Operations Center continues to monitor a strong offshore wind event expected to begin early Wednesday morning (Nov. 20) and last through Thursday morning. To reduce the risk of wildfire in these conditions, PG&E may turn off power to approximately 250,000 customers in portions of 19 counties in the Sierra Foothills, North Valley and North Bay. Other parts of the Bay Area are not expected to be included in a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS).
The weather forecasts continue to be dynamic, so the extent of wind and PSPS impacts may change. No decision has been made about calling a PSPS at this time.
As of Sunday night, portions of the following counties could be affected if PG&E moves forward with a PSPS: Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo and Yuba.
PG&E plans to notify potentially affected customers beginning Monday morning (Nov. 18)—about 48 hours before a potential shutoff—by phone, text and email. PG&E is working closely with state, county, local and tribal partners to prepare for the potential PSPS.
- PG&E meteorologists currently anticipate a wide area of high winds, including sustained winds of up to 25 mph, gusts in the 30-50 mph range and peak gusts above 55 mph.
- Fire Weather Watches have been issued in PG&E’s service area.
- Vegetation is extremely dry:
- Average precipitation in the Northern Sierra by this point in November is typically 5 inches; this year, that region has received 0.3 inches of precipitation.
- Temperatures in PG&E’s service territory are 5-15 degrees above average for this time of year.
- The recent series of extreme wind events have also contributed to dry conditions, as wind has a drying effect on vegetation.
- When possible, the company notifies potentially impacted customers at 48 hours, 24 hours and again just prior to a power shutoff—for those customers who have provided their contact information to PG&E.
- Customers enrolled in the company’s Medical Baseline program who do not verify that they have received these important safety communications will be individually visited by a PG&E employee with a knock on their door when possible. A primary focus will be given to those customers who rely on electricity for critical life-sustaining equipment.
How to Stay Informed
- Starting Monday, customers can look up whether their address could be affected at pge.com/pspsupdates.
- For the latest weather information, including the PSPS 7-Day forecast, visit pge.com/weather.
- For general information about how a Public Safety Power Shutoff works, visit pge.com/psps.
- PG&E will provide frequent updates on its Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as through Nextdoor.
- PG&E will provide frequent updates to news media.
How to Prepare for a PSPS
As part of PSPS preparedness efforts, PG&E is asking customers to:
- 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 your emergency kit 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 your family safe at PG&E’s Safety Action Center.
No single factor drives a Public Safety Power Shutoff, as each situation is unique. PG&E carefully reviews a combination of many criteria when determining if power should be turned off for safety. These factors generally include, but are not limited to:
- A Red Flag Warning declared by the National Weather Service
- Low humidity levels, generally 20 percent and below
- Forecasted sustained winds generally above 25 mph and wind gusts in excess of approximately 45 mph, depending on location and site-specific conditions such as temperature, terrain and local climate
- Condition of dry fuel on the ground and live vegetation (moisture content)
- On-the-ground, real-time observations from PG&E’s Wildfire Safety Operations Center and observations from PG&E field crews
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