Update: Planned Power Outages Underway Across Mother Lode
Update at 7:45 p.m.: As PG&E’s Phase 2 power shutoffs have been implemented in Tuolumne and the rest of Calaveras counties since around 3:30 p.m., many are looking for the anticipated winds. Tuolumne County OES Coordinator Liz Peterson has this update from PG&E noting that its weather modeling continues to show a strong wind event overnight.
At a PG&E press conference in San Francisco this evening, the company’s Principal Meteorologist Scott Strenfel warned, “These events historically are the events that cause the most destructive wildfires. We’re seeing some of the same conditions that are going to develop in this event that we have seen in previous offshore Diablo and Santa Ana wind events. So, it’s a pretty serious situation.”
Peterson adds that PG&E officials told the county they will continue to monitor the weather and will start sharing restoration information as soon as possible on Thursday. During the press event, Vice President, Asset and Risk Management and Community Wildfire Safety Program Sumeet Singh advised that power has already been restored to 40,000 customers in the Phase 1 area of Northern California. He adds staff can only do the inspections during daylight hours, but they are well equipped, stating, “We have 45 helicopters and will begin the visual inspections as soon as the adverse weather subsides. Additionally, we have 6,300 on the ground personnel.”
Peterson also advised that there are some issues with ATT service, but it appears to be isolated to the downtown Sonora area. She has no further details regarding the problems or when the service will be restored.
Calaveras County of Emergency Services has updated that a new Community Resiliency Center will open Thursday (Oct. 10) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Bret Harte High School (Upper Gym) located at 364 Murphys Grade Road in Angels Camp. It will have power available to charge electronic devices and drinking water.
Also, the City of Angels Camp will host a Community Meeting at Utica Park on Thursday (Oct. 10) at 10 a.m. to discuss the City’s response to PG&E’s PSPS and answer any questions from residents.
PG&E’s PSPS is impacting more 34,000 customers in Tuolumne County and nearly 24,000 in Calaveras County. Further details regarding school closings are below.
BJ Hansen and Tori James contributed to this article.
Update at 4:05pm: PG&E’s Phase 2 power shutoffs are underway.
Word has come in that power was cut along the Highway 4 corridor a few minutes ago. We reported earlier that power was cut around 3:30pm in Tuolumne County.
Tuolumne County Schools Superintendent Cathy Parker shares, “The plan for most schools is to wait for further updates before making decisions…some are making decisions to close right now and those updates will be sent to [myMotherLode.com]. Some are waiting until tonight or tomorrow morning in hopes they restore power before school starts.”
She adds, “If Sonora High School closes, all our county-run programs and our office will be closed since we rely upon transportation for them to operate.” For all the latest school closings information as it becomes available, click here.
Update at 3:30pm: PG&E’s Phase 2 power shutoffs have begun.
At 3:28, power shut down at Clarke Broadcasting studios and myMotherLode.com in downtown Sonora after which the backup generator system kicked in. Continue to check myMotherLode.com and Clarke Broadcasting radio stations AM 1450 and FM 102.7 KVML, 93.5 KKBN and Star 92.7 for the latest information. We will remain on throughout the outages.
Calaveras County Schools Superintendent Scott Nanik confirmed that the power shut off at his office at the same time. Earlier this morning he shared that the county’s plan would be if there was no power tomorrow morning, there will be no school. If there is power in the morning, schools will convene as normal.
Columbia College officials say that power is out on campus and that it is closing for as long as they are without power.
At this point, as PG&E is telling customers to be ready for up to five days without power, it is uncertain when the power will be restored to the Mother Lode communities. The high wind weather event forecasted to affect the area is still described as occurring from 5 p.m. tonight until noon tomorrow.
For all the latest school information as it becomes available, click here.
Update at 1:35pm: The Calaveras and Tuolumne OES leads are sharing the latest about Phase 2 of PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutdown (PSPS).
Calaveras County OES Director John Osbourn says that the utility has pushed back the second phase of the PSPS to 3 p.m. and that the utility has estimated that the shutdown process will take approximately two hours. He adds that the current weather event end date and time has NOT changed. It is still Thursday at around 12 noon.
Tuolumne County OES Coordinator Liz Peterson shares that the wind event is still anticipated to hit around 5 p.m. this evening and last until around noon tomorrow. She also reports that PG&E continues to receive significantly more website traffic than they had anticipated and supplied this alternate link.
PG&E spokesperson Brandi Merlo earlier indicated the Phase 2 shutoff would include 34,000 customers in Tuolumne County and an additional 21,000 customers in Calaveras County.
Update at 12:47pm: PG&E spokesperson Brandi Merlo says that planned power outages for about 34,000 customers in Tuolumne County, and an additional 21,000 customers in Calaveras County, have been “delayed by a few hours, given changes in the weather forecast.”
It is now anticipated to occur sometime during the mid-afternoon. Tracey Petersen and Tori James are in the news center posting updates. We’ll pass along more information as it becomes available.
Update at 12:13pm: Calaveras County Office of Emergency Services has declared a local emergency for the county due to the PG&E Public Safety Power Shutdown.
According to OES Director John Osbourn, the county has opened an Emergency Operations Center to coordinate available resources. At this time, approximately 2,000 residents have lost power with more outages anticipated in the noon hour.
Resiliency Centers (CRCs) are opening at the following locations:
Bret Harte High (Upper Gym, 364 Murphys Grade Road), Angels Camp
Copperopolis Elementary (Multipurpose Room, 217 School Street), Copperopolis
Murphys Fire Department (Community Room, 58 Jones Street)
West Point Community Hall (22283 Highway 26)
San Andreas Main Library (Cheseborough Room, 1299 Gold Hunter Road)
Jenny Lind Memorial Hall (189 Pine Street), Valley Springs
Osbourn indicates that the centers will be staffed and provide minimal services such as limited power for device charging, water, and information resources. The CRCs are not able to be climate controlled and will be open beginning Thursday. Some may open today for a limited time, depending on when each area is powered down by PG&E.
BJ Hansen posted these earlier updates.
Update at 11:55 am: PG&E still indicates it is planning to de-energize lines across Tuolumne County, and additional stretches of Calaveras County, during the noon hour.
In addition, all meetings at the Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools Office are canceled today. Superintendent Cathy Parker says schools are still on standby regarding the PSPS but want to get the word out about the meetings’ cancellation.
Also, if the power is on at Sonora and Summerville high schools on Friday, the games will be played as scheduled. If the power is out, Sonora High is planning to play on Saturday afternoon at Dunlavy Field. Summerville is also looking into the possibility of playing on Saturday afternoon, and there is also a chance that the game could be moved to Argonaut on Friday, in the event that Argonaut High still has power. We’ll pass along more information when it becomes available.
Update at 8:40 am: More information is being released this morning about the plans to cut power across the Mother Lode region.
Tuolumne County Office of Emergency Services Coordinator Liz Peterson says the power in Tuolumne County is still scheduled to be turned off around noontime, but it is a possibility it may be pushed to 1pm. It takes a few hours for PG&E to completely de-energize the system, and it is noted that not all areas will go off at the same time.
As of this morning, 523,000 PG&E customers in the state, to the north, are without electricity.
The PG&E Community Resource Center at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds in Sonora will be open from 8am-8pm. There will be water, charging capabilities and other resources.
There will be similar type resource centers at the Meadowmont Shopping Center in Arnold, Twain Harte Community Services District Parking lot and at the Groveland Community Services District Office.
PG&E’s website is occasionally crashing due to the high amount of traffic. The company is trying to fix the problems.
Original story posted at 6:10 am: Sonora, CA — Thousands in Calaveras County are without power this morning as part of PG&E’s planned power outages, and Tuolumne County is expected to lose power at noon today.
The area of Calaveras impacted thus far is primarily around Wilseyville, Railroad Flat and Mokelumne Hill. It is anticipated that areas along the Highway 4 corridor will lose power around noon time. Once the power goes out, residents should be prepared to be without electricity for up to five days. Community resource centers will be open throughout the day at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds in Sonora, Groveland Community Services District Office in Groveland, Meadowmont Shopping Center in Arnold and the Twain Harte Community Services District parking lot. In total, the outages are anticipated to impact over 34,000 customers in Tuolumne County and 23,000 in Calaveras. Statewide, it will be around 750,000.
If you are going to head out to any government office or business over the next couple of days, you may want to call ahead of time to make sure they are open. Things like Tuolumne County Meals on Wheels are canceled and the Senior Center on Greenley Road is closed.
Most schools are going with the rule that if you wake up and have no electricity, school is canceled, but if the power is on, school will be in session. There are exceptions though. Click here for school cancelations and announcements.
Local water districts are requesting conservation during power outages.
Keep it tuned to the Clarke Broadcasting radio stations AM 1450 and FM 102.7 KVML, Star 92.7 and 93.5 KKBN, and myMotherLode.com, for the latest information.
The map below from PG&E shows the full extent of the planned PSPS. Just because an area of the map is highlighted doesn’t mean the power will definitely be shut off there. The map is also subject to change. You can zoom in and find your neighborhood on PG&E’s interactive map on its website (though the website was intermittently down throughout the day).