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Update: Potential PSPS Upgraded To A Watch, Nearly 450,000 Impacted Including Mother Lode

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Update Saturday 5:50 a.m.:  PG& E is reporting that nearly 466,000 customers will be impacted by this potential power shut off due to a wind event creating wildfire risk. The highest probability areas for this Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) includes areas of the northern and western Sacramento Valley, Northern, and Central Sierra. The utility notes, “While there is still uncertainty regarding the strength and timing of this weather wind event, the shutoff is forecasted to begin Sunday morning (Oct. 25) and last through Tuesday night.

The utility has targeted  Zone 5 and 8, which include Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa, and Tuolumne counties and they are all currently on the PSPS “watch” level. See the map:

PG&E map of potential PSPS in the Mother Lode 10-24-2020
PG&E map of potential PSPS in the Mother Lode 10-24-2020

The utility says that 38 counties are involved in the PSPS including Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne, and Mariposa. For Calaveras, the estimated number of customers is 19,329 with 2190 in Angels Camp. In Tuolumne 33,271 customers are impacted with 3,301 in Sonora. Electricity in both counties is projected to be turned off on Sunday between 4 and 6 p.m. and turned back on Tuesday around 10 p.m. Mariposa has 1,203 customers that could be affected with their power being shut off between 4 and 8 p.m. on Sunday and restored around 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Extremely dry, windy conditions with high gusts pose an increased risk for damage to the electric system that has the potential to ignite fires in areas with critically dry vegetation, warn company officials. The National Weather Service has issued for the Mother Lode and the Stanislaus National Forest, from 8 PM Sunday through 1 PM Tuesday, click here for details.

Update Friday 6:45 p.m.: PG&E is defining the scope of its potential power shut off due to a high wind event expected to start Sunday (Oct. 25)  and lasting into Tuesday (Oct. 27) for the Mother Lode. The utility relays that customers who might be affected by the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) have been receiving the initial notifications on Friday,  two days prior to the potential event.

The utility has targeted  Zone 5 and 8, which include Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa, and Tuolumne counties and they are all currently on the PSPS “watch” level.

PG&E’s update this evening is “shutoffs likely.”  with the map below showing the areas involved in Northern California.

PG&E map of potential power shutoff areas
PG&E map of potential power shutoff areas

The utility says that 38 counties are involved in the PSPS including Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne, and Mariposa. For Calaveras, the estimated number of customers is 19,329 with 2190 in Angels Camp. In Tuolumne 33,271 customers are impacted with 3,301 in Sonora. Electricity in both counties is projected to be turned off on Sunday between 4 and 6 p.m. and turned back on Tuesday around 10 p.m. Mariposa has 1,203 customers that could be affected with their power being shut off between 4 and 8 p.m. on Sunday and restored around 10 p.m. Tuesday.

PG&E says it is looking at four extremes in the weather for this possible PSPS Event: extremely high winds, low humidity, dry fuels, and drought. The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for the Mother Lode and the Stanislaus National Forest from Sunday morning into Tuesday with east winds of 20 to 30 mph and gusts of 50 to 70 mph in the Sierra Nevada. Tips on preparing for the PSPS provided by Tuolumne County Office of Emergency Services (OES) are below.

Update at 5:45 p.m.: While PG&E has alerted the public to a possible Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) for Calaveras and Tuolumne counties later this weekend into next week, no specific details of its scope have yet been released. Tuolumne County Office of Emergency Services (OES) is encouraging residents to prepare. In a written statement, OES officials released these tips for doing that:

  • Ensure vehicles are refueled prior to the event
  • Emergency Supplies such as Flashlights and Battery-Operated
    Radios function correctly
  • Ensure you are registered for Emergency Notifications. The link
    for this can be found at www.tuolumnecounty.ca.gov on the top
    right of the page or call (209) 533-5511 for assistance
  • As temperatures are starting to lower at night, ensure blankets or
    warmer clothing options are available
  • Operate Generators in well-ventilated areas and away from
    flammable materials
  • Take the opportunity to refresh/practice your emergency plans with
    your family
  • Tune in to local radio stations and check local media for updates
    throughout the weekend

Original post at 11:50 a.m.written by BJ Hansen: Sonora, CA — PG&E warns that a large area of the state could lose electricity by late in the weekend, but the specific scope has not been fully determined.

PG&E states that more details should be known by late today. Much of the PG&E service area was changed from the lower “elevated” status to a PSPS “watch” this morning. Based on the information, Tuolumne and Calaveras counties could potentially be included, along with other areas of the northern and central Sierra, upper elevations of the San Francisco Bay Area, parts of the central valley, areas of the Sacramento region, and some communities along the Central Coast. It is set to begin on Sunday and could run through Tuesday.

Also of note, power has now been restored following a midweek PG&E planned power outage that impacted 31,000 customers north of Sacramento.

We’ll pass along more information when it becomes available.

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