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PG&E Warns About High Potential For Storm Related Power Outages

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Sonora, CA — Low-elevation snow over the coming days could lead to power outages in the Mother Lode and Sierra foothills.

PG&E reports it is pre-staging crews in some parts of the region in anticipation of the weather. The company reports that it is prepared to use helicopters, snowcats, and four-wheel drive vehicles to access hard-hit areas.

The company notes, though, “Customers in remote areas should prepare for extended outages given the unique circumstances of this storm.”

Snow is likely to fall as low as 2,000 feet with several feet projected above 5,000 feet.

PG&E adds, “In previous winter storms where high accumulations of low snow have occurred, some customers have experienced extended outages as our crews often have difficulty accessing more remote locations in higher terrain due to roads blocked by trees, debris, and snow.”

Click here to find the latest information from the National Weather Service.

County OES, public works, fire, and law enforcement are also gearing up for a potentially busy period, as reported earlier here. 

PG&E storm tips:

  • Never touch downed wires: If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and extremely dangerous. Do not touch or try to move it—and keep children and animals away. Report downed power lines immediately by calling 9-1-1 and then PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
  • Use generators safely: Customers with standby electric generators should ensure they are properly installed by a licensed electrician in a well-ventilated area. Improperly installed generators pose a significant danger to customers, as well as crews working on powerlines. If using portable generators, be sure they are in a well-ventilated area.
  • Use flashlights, not candles: During a power outage, use battery-operated flashlights and not candles, due to the risk of fire. And keep extra batteries on hand. If you must use candles, please keep them away from drapes, lampshades, animals, and small children. Do not leave candles unattended.
  • Have a backup phone: If you have a telephone system that requires electricity to work, such as a cordless phone or answering machine, plan to have a standard telephone or cellular phone ready as a backup. Having a portable charging device helps to keep your cell phone running.
  • Have fresh drinking water and ice: Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator/freezer to prevent food spoilage.
  • Secure your outside furniture: Strong winds can blow lawn chairs and other outdoor items into powerlines.
  • Turn off appliances: If you experience an outage, unplug or turn off all electrical appliances to avoid overloading circuits and to prevent fire hazards when power is restored. Simply leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns.
  • Safely clean up: After the storm has passed, be sure to safely clean up. Never touch downed wires and always call 8-1-1 or visit at least two full business days before digging to have all underground utilities safely marked.