PG&E to shut off power in 34 counties at midnight

PG&E to shut off power in 34 counties at midnight

Photo Credits: SHEREEN LEE / AGGIE

Strong winds, humid weather create risk for wildfires

The Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will be shutting off power in 34 counties across Northern and Central California, including Yolo County, citing strong winds which pose wildfire threats. While the City of Davis will not be affected — according to the most recent reports at the time of publication — many other cities will not have power starting tonight, Oct. 8, at midnight and lasting until about 4 a.m. Full power restoration at that time, however, is not confirmed and outages could potentially last several days.

Evan Duffey, a PG&E meteorologist, said “strong, dry gusty winds will be combined with low, relative humidity levels and lead to dangerous fire weather,” in a media briefing released on Twitter. 

“The national weather service has issued extensive red flag warnings in the northern California geographic area, [considering] this a high-risk situation,” Duffey said. “By all metrics, this is forecasted to be the strongest offshore wind event since October 2017. Conditions being forecasted historically have led to catastrophic wildfires.”

Sumeet Singh, the vice president of the Asset and Risk Management and Community Wildfire Safety Program at PG&E, said outages may continue to last given the weather, according to a media briefing released on Twitter.

“We want our customers to be aware, that based on the large number of outages, it could take several days to fully restore power after the weather passes and the safety inspections can begin,” Singh said. “The first step that we take as part of restoration after such an adverse event is to inspect every inch of our overhead electrical asset base to ensure there’s no damage.”

Keith Stevens, a public information officer for PG&E, addressed concerns about how the website is not currently working due to increased traffic, according to a media briefing released on Twitter. 

“In regards to the website, we know there’s been some issues with that this morning and this afternoon,” Stevens said. “We did take the precaution yesterday to double the size of our database to be able to accept all the people that were coming to our website. We still have a very slow response to the website — we’ve had about seven or eight times the normal traffic to our website. Again, we apologize.”

Written by: Stella Tran — city@theaggie.org