People in most of the state of California may soon find themselves without electricity as Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) is deciding whether or not to cut off electric to its entire service area over Wildfire Dangers!
The areas of California served by PG&E is shown on the map above.
All attention now turns a major offshore wind event expected to unfold this weekend into Monday across northern and southern California. Unfortunately, this system will be right on the heels of the most recent event and fuels will be critically dry and receptive for fire. In addition, this system will be the strongest of the year and likely will be stronger than the October 2017 northern CA fire event. This event has potential and energy to be the strongest in years. Northern Operations Predictive services is projecting ”an unusually strong 99th percentile” event, and the National Weather Service Bay Area has stated ”this will be a long duration and potentially extreme/historic event across the North Bay”. PG&E Meteorology’s analyses of forecasted pressure gradients from the ECMWF weather model suggest a near 1 in 15 year return period event. Fire Weather Watches and Red Flag Warnings as well as Wind Warnings have been issued for most areas north of a Monterey to Yosemite line valid from Saturday afternoon through Monday morning and will likely be upgraded to Red Flag Warning status later this afternoon. 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 critical fire weather conditions, Zones 2, 3, 4 and 5 are now in a PSPS Watch for Saturday and all Zones are either in a PSPS Watch or elevated PSPS status for Sunday and Monday. The PG&E Emergency Operations Center remains activated to monitor and prepare for the event.
"PSPS" means Public Safety Power Shutoff.
As shown in red above, "all Zones" may be shut off.
UPDATE 7:18 PM EDT --
PG&E is now saying approximately 850,000 customers could lose power in the potential PSPS event this weekend starting Saturday.
Using the 3.1 persons per account estimate, that means roughly 2.6 million people could be without power.
Friday update: unfortunately, models have not backed off on extreme wind potential for parts of NorCal late Sat/Sun. Widespread low elevation northeasterly gusts of 40-55 mph & hilltop/canyon gusts of 60-80 mph; isolated mountain spots could see even higher gusts.
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