PG&E to shutoff power to approximately 23,464 customers
Sonoma County is heading into the worst winds it's seen all season, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). The NWS has issued two Red Flag Warnings and a Wind Advisory for the coming days. The first Red Flag Warning, for the North Bay mountains and East Bay hills begins at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 25 and continues through 5 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27. The second Red Flag Warning is for lower valleys, including Sonoma County, as well as coastal regions and the Santa Cruz mountains, and runs from 8 p.m. on Oct. 25 through 11 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 26. The Wind Advisory is in effect from 4 p.m. on Oct. 25 to 11 a.m. on Oct. 26.
While the length of the warnings and advisory are small, the NWS is predicting wind conditions that are “on track to be the strongest the region has experienced so far this fall,” according to a Friday weather forecast discussion.
The weather service said that the weather event looks to be on par with the 2017 fires and last year’s Kincade Fire, though the meteorological setup is slightly different.
“In addition, though the North Bay may take the brunt of the wind, much of the East Bay, SF Peninsula and Santa Cruz mountains will see high wind potential as well as the Highway 1 corridor Sunday night. The 2017 wine country and 2019 Kincade peaked between 9 p.m. and roughly 1-3 a.m. at night. This event may arrive slightly earlier but should any fires start it will be a long night of gusty winds,” reads Friday’s weather forecast discussion. In an update on Sunday morning, the NWS said that wind predictions looked to be still on track, with only minor changes. “In addition, the airmass appears to be much drier with humidity values forecast to plummet into the single digits and teens. There will be no marine layer so even the valleys will be bone dry.”
On Monday morning, the weather service will reevaluate to see if the Winds Advisory and Red Flag Warnings will have to be extended.
Now for the fire weather threat - as the north winds kick in watch the humidity values plummet (pink <10%). Gusty winds + low humidity + crispy dry fuels = very critical fire weather conditions. Be alert and have a plan. (2/2) #cawx #cafire #OneLessSpark pic.twitter.com/fmpaP3Y5wQ— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) October 24, 2020
Because of the predicted weather conditions, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has issued a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) warning, beginning on Oct. 25 at 4 p.m. PG&E is expected to shut off power to approximately 361,000 customers in 36 counties. In Sonoma County, roughly 23,464 customers are expected to lose power starting Sunday afternoon. To check if you may be impacted by the PSPS, click here.
“High winds are currently expected to subside Monday morning (Oct. 26) in most impacted areas, with windy conditions lingering in some regions through early Tuesday (Oct. 27). PG&E will then patrol the de-energized lines to assess whether they were damaged during the wind event. PG&E will safely restore power as quickly as possible, with the goal of restoring most customers within 12 daylight hours, based on current weather conditions,” PG&E wrote in a Sunday morning update about the power shutoff.
Around the county, the power provider has also opened various community resource centers for those impacted by the power shutoff. Resource centers are located in Cloverdale, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Guerneville, Sonoma and Sea Ranch. To view a list of open centers, click here.