BAY AREA OUTAGES: County-by-county breakdown of how many expected to lose power
PG&E officials say because of the high winds, extremely low humidity, dry vegetation and severe drought, the utility company has knocked out power to 361,000 customers in 36 counties. PG&E says nearly 106,000 customers in the Bay Area have been impacted.
Overnight, gusts reached 89 mph in Middletown, 82 mph on Mount Saint Helena, 62 mph on Mount Diablo, 58 mph at Oakland International Airport, 57 mph at the Pittsburg Marina, according to the National Weather Service.
In Alameda County, crews say it was really busy overnight with wires and trees down throughout because of the strong winds in the area. Crews put out a wildfire along eastbound I-580 in Castro Valley right before Eden Canyon. The Alameda County Fire Department says heavy brush caught fire around 12:45 a.m..
“These will be equivalent, if not stronger than the Tubbs Fire of 2017 and the Kincade of 2019,” said Paul Lowenthal, Assistant Fire Marshal of Santa Rosa Fire Department.
He said they’re trying to get the message out to the community that this one will be from everything they can tell — much different from what the area has experienced this far.
Restaurant owners at TIPS Roadside in Kenwood are angry for what happened mid-afternoon Sunday.
“At 3 o’clock boom power went out an hour before it was supposed to and it was really disappointing cause we needed that time to get everything on ice,” says TIPS Roadside owner Andrew Pryfogle.
His wife Susie says, “I don’t know if they saw wind coming early and that’s why they chose to shut down early but it was just frustrating.”
Now there are dirty dishes sitting in the dark because when that power went out so did any use of their well water. Those from PG&E say that of the more than 24-,000 outages in Sonoma County Sunday night, around 1,400 of them are due to weather. They say it’s likely those high winds that caused an early outage at TIPS Roadside The Pryfogle’s are now just hoping that they don’t lose what is on ice in their freezer. They lost more than $15,000 worth of food a few weeks ago.
In Sonoma many residents have generators and are using them to power their refrigerators. That being said, many here are growing frustrated over another shutoff.
“It’s just getting awful, tiring going through this I’ve lived here all my life and haven’t seen anything like this in the last three years since 2017,” says Bill Parisi of Sonoma.
In Moraga, college student Jennifer Rinefort got a notification before the PSPS.
Luz Pena: Do you have a plan?
Jennifer Rinefort : Yes. I just booked a flight back home tomorrow just because for school like I need wifi.
PG&E says the PSPS is likely to last 2 days but this college student is not taking any chances and leaving the area.
Many just hoping that times get better. Parisi said, “You know everything is so much harder right now because of COVID and fires and power outages and everyone is saying I can’t wait until 2020 is over and hopefully ’21 will be much better.”
Contra Costa County Fire Protection District is staging its crews in fire prone areas.
“With the first that have already occurred this summer this is one of the most dangerous times of the year,” said Tracie Dutter, Captain Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.
WATCH: More than 17,000 in Contra Costa Co. lose power, Fire crews prep for extreme fire conditions
Air resources are with Con air 1 and 2. These helicopters are equipped with a medical response team and a fire bucket to create a line of defense ahead of the ground crews.
“We call it dipping. We dip into the water and fill the bucket and fly over the fire and drop the water,” said Contra Costa Fire Captain and flight paramedic, Jason Dosh.
Both crew members have to agree that it’s safe to fly. They’re projecting 20 – 30 miles an hour winds this weekend. If that’s the case they have the green light to fly.
For now this pilot and firefighter duo are monitoring the weather conditions as they gear up for deployment in the morning in case of fires.
“You can see right now it’s very high winds offshore but on shore we are doing ok. There is a little bit of high wind coming down through Redding into Sacramento” said Chris Beasley, Coco Fire Protection District Pilot.
The “peak” period of concern will be from 6 p.m. Sunday through 7 to 10 a.m. on Monday and a second round of winds is expected on Monday night to Tuesday morning, PG&E Meteorologist Scott Strenfel says.
A Red Flag Warning is in effect in the North Bay mountains and East Bay hills through 5 p.m. on Tuesday because of the extreme fire conditions. The warning for the coastal regions, Santa Cruz Mountains and lower valleys will last through 11 a.m. Monday morning.
A Wind Advisory is in effect through 11 a.m. Monday. Affected areas include essentially all of the Bay Area, according to the NWS.
PG&E officials say 110 community resource centers will be open across the state during the event.
The power outage may impact schools in the East and North Bay. Several Oakland schools are keeping an eye on PG&E’s forecast. Oakland Unified says the following schools could be impacted by the utility’s shutoffs: Chabot Elementary, Community Day, Grass Valley Elementary, Hillcrest K-8, Joaquin Miller Elementary, King Estates – including Rudsdale Continuation and Sojourner Truth, Laurel Elementary, and Laurel CDC, Montclair Elementary, Montera Middle School, Redwood Heights Elementary, Skyline High School and Thornhill Elementary.
ABC7 News reached out to OUSD for any updates but have not heard back. The district says if the power does go out at the homes of these students, they can do their work offline and report it back to their teacher the first chance they get.
In Sonoma County, Kenwood School District will be closed on Monday, Oct. 26 due to the PSPS and more updates on school closures can be found here.
Reenergization is expected on Monday to Tuesday night, with safety permitting, PG&E officials said in a briefing on Sunday night.
You can read the full advisory and check for the most current updates here.
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