PG&E warns of power shutoffs in 16 Northern California pockets

PG&E warned 39,000 Northern California customers Sunday night that it may deliberately shut down their power in the coming days to reduce the risk of fire in power lines amid a wind event.

Hot, desiccating offshore winds are forecast to pick up Tuesday night with very dry vegetation on the ground due to an ongoing drought, the risk of wildfires is high, the utility company said in a press release.

PG&E began sending 48-hour notice Sunday night to customers in 16 targeted areas where the utility may need to proactively turn off the power.

-Butte County: 13,841 customers, 1,366 basic medical customers
-Count Glenn: 17 clients, 2 basic medical clients
-Humboldt County: 643 customers, 13 basic medical customers
-Lake County: 2,727 customers, 184 basic medical customers
-Lassen County: 65 customers, 7 basic medical customers
-Mendocino County: 239 customers, 15 basic medical customers
-Napa County: 1,804 customers, 87 basic medical customers
-Plumas County: 778 customers, 27 basic medical customers
-Count Shasta: 14,027 customers, 1,239 basic medical customers
-Sierra County: 1,035 customers, 30 basic medical customers
-County Solano: 71 customers, 3 basic medical customers
-Sonoma County: 106 customers, 1 basic medical customer
-Tehama County: 2,856 customers, 219 basic medical customers
-Trinity County: 426 customers, 21 basic medical customers
-Yolo County: 100 customers, 4 basic medical customers
-Yuba County: 531 customers, 49 basic medical customers

Offshore winds are common across California in the fall and often begin to occur in August. The winds blow hot air from inland areas toward the coast and are known to dry out the landscape, and essentially suck the moisture out of the vegetation and leave it tinder-dry and vulnerable to burns.

PG&E looks at multiple factors when considering whether to cut off power and the utility company said they usually provide a shutdown when the following are in play:

-Humidity levels are 30% and below.
-The forecast includes sustained winds above 20 mph and isolated gusts of wind above 30 mph to 40 mph.
-Vegetation has a low moisture content.
-The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning.
-PG & E’s Wildfire Safety Operations Center and our crew working across the service territory provide real-time ground observations indicating a shutdown is necessary.

Find out more about closing the potential on the PG&E emergency website.

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