School cancelled on Oct. 9, city preparing infrastructure
On Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 8, PG&E announced that it would be shutting off power to nearly 800,000 customers in 34 California counties. The bulk of Sonoma County towns are expected to experience an outage, including Cloverdale. According to City Manager David Kelley, parts of the city began to lose power at around 3:15 a.m. on Wednesday.
Countywide, the shutoff was expected to impact 66,289 customers, 1,951 of which are "medical baseline" customers (described by PG&E as customers who have special energy needs due to certain medical conditions).
The Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) was performed in an attempt to address fire risk caused by predicted high winds and low humidity. According to a Tuesday press release from PG&E, it’s anticipated that “this weather event will last through midday Thursday, with peak winds forecasted from Wednesday morning through Thursday morning and reaching 40 to 55 mph, with isolated gusts up to 60 to 70 mph.”
The power shutoff began at midnight on Wednesday, Oct. 9, and last until midday Thursday. Before restoring power, PG&E must inspect all of the power lines, which may take up to five days.
PG&E began the process of restoring power to Sonoma County on Thursday afternoon, but as of Friday morning, 449 Cloverdale customers were still without power.
The city issued a press release at 6:23 p.m. on Oct. 8, confirming that the PG&E power shutoff would be impacting Cloverdale. Shortly after, a press release from City Engineer Mark Rincon stated that the city was working Tuesday night to prepare Cloverdale’s infrastructure for the impending outage.
According to Rincon, the city’s water system will continue to function during the power shutoff, and will be able to deliver water for several days.
“During the PSPS, residents should make every effort to minimize water usage by turning off irrigation systems and only using water for essential needs,” he said. “In preparation for the PSPS, the city has turned off irrigation systems and will not be irrigating city parks, street medians and right-of-way landscaping. If the power shut off goes beyond one day, water supplies to major industrial and commercial establishments may also be restricted and/or turned off to ensure water supply is available for the health and safety of city residents. Restrictions of water use will also be enforced on new construction. City irrigation systems for parks, sports facilities and public landscaping has been turned off to further conserve water resources for essential needs.”
A Wednesday night update from City Manager David Kelley stated the city's water reservoirs are at or greater than 90% full, and will be able to deliver water for "several days" without electricity.
The city’s sewer system is in a similar state, with the wastewater treatment plant continuing to operate during the shutoff, aided by backup generators. However, the city is encouraging residents to limit their use of the sewage system by delaying washing dishes and reducing the length of time they shower/bathe.
According to Kelley, none of Cloverdale' traffic signals have been impacted by the shutoff. If power to the signals ends up going out, they will become four-way stops.
During this time, the Cloverdale Municipal Airport will be closed to general aviation and fuel will not be available.
City parks will remain open during the day.
According to the release, the Cloverdale Police Department will be patrolling neighborhoods and staying visible during the outage. The city also recommends that community members: call 9-1-1 if they see a crime occurring or suspicious activity; do not call 9-1-1 or Cloverdale dispatch for general information unless it is an emergency; for questions about the power shutoff and public serves available during the PSPS, call 2-1-1; to find more information about preparing for power outages visit ww.SoCoEmergency.org.; sign up for Sonoma County emergency alerts on SoCoAlert.org or Cloverdale Nixle by texting your ZIP code to 888777.
According to the Sonoma County Office of Education, the Cloverdale Unified School District is closed on Wednesday, Oct. 9. An email sent out by Superintendent Jeremy Decker on Oct. 8 said that schools will also be closed on Thursday, Oct. 10.
Cloverdale schools reopened on Friday, Oct. 11, since the district kept power during the shutoff.
As of Tuesday night, both the Cloverdale City Council and the Cloverdale Unified School District Board of Trustees meetings that were originally slated for Oct. 9 had been cancelled. The council will resume during its regularly scheduled meeting on Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. The school board meeting has been rescheduled to Oct. 16 at 6 p.m.
Locally, businesses in the south end of town are experiencing the power outage as of Wednesday afternoon. Businesses in Furber Plaza were shut down, with the exception of Ray's Food Place, which is operating through the use of a generator. Ace Hardware is open for limited hours, and is guiding customers through the store by flashlight.
According to multiple reports from community members, downtown Cloverdale has power and businesses in the downtown are operating as such.
Have news about how the power shutoff is impacting you or your business? Email email@example.com.
Last updated on Friday, Oct. 11 at 9:45 a.m.