BAY AREA (KPIX 5) — The potential high winds this weekend have PG&E warning that another round of power shutoffs may hit nearly every county in the Bay Area starting Saturday night, affecting 400,000 customers.
PG&E first announced the possibility of another widespread PSPS event during a press conference Thursday evening. Since then, more details regarding the likely weekend shutoff have been revealed by county officials.
Here are the times that the #PSPS outages will begin in each region this weekend, per @PGE4Me. Potential shutoffs expected to begin at 7 p.m. Saturday for most of the Bay Area https://t.co/mujXUk8pI9 pic.twitter.com/MvCFG6KHM3
— KPIX 5 (@KPIXtv) October 26, 2019
A press release issued Friday afternoon that referred to a “historic wind event” stated that 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 and peak gusts of 60-70 mph in the higher elevations.”
Contra Costa County officials say 48,000 customers could lose power. An additional 57,000 are projected to lose power in Alameda County.
Though San Francisco wasn’t listed as part of the potential shutoff area, the National Weather Service’s Wind Advisory was updated to include the San Francisco Peninsula, including the city of San Francisco and the San Francisco Bay Shoreline, NWS said Friday evening.
- PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff: Interactive Map • Search Your Address
- Bay Area Power Shutoff Survival Guide
The areas affected by the Wednesday power shutoff in the North Bay and on the Peninsula will also be affected during the weekend event.
Sonoma County confirmed on Friday that it was anticipated that over 90,000 PG&E customers will be impacted for an extended period of time due to the weekend shutoff.
Santa Clara County is expected to have more than 27,000 customers without power.
All Bay Area counties except San Francisco are expected to have some outages over the next three days and nearly 400,000 customers in the Bay Area could lose power by early evening (approximately 5 p.m. or 6 p.m., though the city of Lafayette issued an alert saying the power could be shut off as early as 1 p.m.).
Here is a breakdown of the anticipated number of customers affected this weekend in each Bay Area county:
- Alameda County: 57,360 (outage will impact cities of Albany, Berkeley, Canyon, Castro Valley Dublin, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore Oakland, Piedmont, Pleasanton, San Leandro and Sunol)
- Contra Costa County: 48,824 (outage will impact cities of Alamo, Antioch, Brentwood, Byron, Canyon, Clayton, Concord, Crockett, Danville, Diablo, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Hercules, Kensington, Knightsen, Lafayette, Martinez, Moraga, Orinda, Pinole, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, Port Costa, Richmond, Rodeo, San Pablo, San Ramon and Walnut Creek)
- Marin County: 86,813 (outage will impact cities of Belvedere, Bolinas, Corte Madera, Dillon Beach, Fairfax, Fallon, Forest Knolls, Greenbrae, Inverness, Kentfield, Lagunitas, Larkspur, Marshall, Mill Valley, Muir Beach, Nicasio, Novato, Olema, Point Reyes Station, Ross, San Anselmo, San Geronimo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Stinson Beach, Tiburon, Tomales and Woodacre)
- Napa County: 11,294 (outage will impact cities of Angwin, Calistoga, Deer Park, Lake Berryessa, Oakville, Pope Valley, Rutherford, St Helena and Yountville)
- San Mateo County: 64,932 (outage will impact cities of Belmont, Burlingame, Daly City, El Granada, Emerald Hills, Half Moon Bay, Hillsborough, La Honda, Loma Mar, Montara, Moss Beach, Pacifica, Pescadero, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Gregorio, San Mateo, South San Francisco, Woodside and unincorporated communities in Southwest San Mateo County)
- Santa Clara County: 27,093 (outage will impact cities of Coyote, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Redwood Estates, San Jose and San Martin)
- Solano County: 10,232 (outage will impact cities of Fairfield, Suisun City, Vacaville and Vallejo)
- Sonoma County: 92,877 (outage will impact cities of Medical Baseline: 2,695
Annapolis, Bodega, Bodega Bay, Camp Meeker, Cazadero, Cloverdale, Cotati, Duncans Mills, Forestville, Freestone, Geyserville, Glen Ellen, Graton, Guerneville, Healdsburg, Jenner, Kenwood, Larkfield, Monte Rio, Occidental, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rio Nido, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Stewarts Point, Valley Ford, Villa Grande and Windsor)
Approximately 850,000 customers across Northern California have been notified they may be affected by the PSPS starting Saturday between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. It 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.
During the utility’s 5:30 p.m. news conference, officials said that the estimated timeline for the Saturday PSPS would be for the shutdown to begin at 3 p.m. in the Sierra foothills before moving to the North Bay and Mendocino county at 5 p.m. The coastal areas of the Bay Area, East Bay and South Bay would follow at 7 p.m.
PG&E said there were nine reports of damage that have been confirmed by field crews during the most recent PSPS event. Several more damage cases are being reviewed.
Most are related to trees or debris that could cause arcing or sparks.
Health officials in Santa Clara County say that they need to get used to the possibility of regular outages during fire season.
“I think that this is becoming the new normal. We’re just going really need to adjust to having frequent PSPS events,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Director of Santa Clara County Public Health Department.
She said she was most concerned about people with medical devices that require electricity.
“Check with your provider for that durable medical equipment, make sure you have the batteries to get you through the power outage,” said Dr. Cody.
A possible PSPS plus a higher risk of smoke overtaking the skies across the bay area, led to Cody suggesting people to stay inside as much as possible.
“[People could experience] irritated eyes, nose, mouth, throat from the smoke and the particulate in the smoke,” said Cody.
Unfortunately, the N-95 masks being sold in hardware stores may not be as helpful as bay area residents think.
“They are not the solution for everything,” said Cody. “They don’t work unless they’re well fitted, there are no sizes that fit children’s faces, and they won’t work if you have facial hair.”
There are few places where power lines intersect with dry, brown brush more than the East San Jose foothills. Residents live with the threat of fire year rounds, but blackouts are a new twist.
“Well, last time we had the power outage around 6 a.m. And we were expecting that so we had the flashlights,” said Alan Salehi. Salehi is prepared for fires and for the blackouts.
As an alarm technician, he has a solar and battery backup system installed in his backyard, which will power many of the key systems in his home if PG&E cuts service this weekend.
“And then when the power outage happens, my inverter inverts that to 110 volts and I can run my modem and router and computer,” Salehi said.
Salehi’s home is right on the hillside and he has already cut back the brush just in case anything is ignited behind him. “As I said…we would rather be safe than sorry.”
Down the hill near Alum Rock Park, a power line failure recently sparked a small fire. Residents nearby are willing to put up with the power outages in the name of safety.
“It is good so there are no fires around this area,” said Maria Tovar.
To track how the air quality is in your area, Santa Clara health officials recommend using the AirNow.gov website.