SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — PG&E’s chief meteorologist said strong winds on the heels of triple-degree heat makes this power shutoff serious.
Mark Quinlan, a PG&E operations specialist, said this time around the company is using more than 200 new weather stations to better predict exactly where and when these strong winds will come, narrowing down where shutoffs will occur.
Chief Meteorologist Scott Strenfel said other federal weather agencies, like the National Weather Service, agree this event will be significant.
“They also indicate peak wind gusts with this event could be up to 50 miles per hour in many areas in the Sierra foothills as well as elevated peaks and ridges in the North Bay,” Strenfel said.
The Sierra Foothills will take the brunt of the outages. More than 172,000 customers will lose power statewide, but PG&E is promising a way to keep essential resources on the grid.
“The actual main point of commerce, gas stations, stores, resources, we’ve configured microgrids to be able to keep those areas energized,” Quinlan said.
PG&E community relations spokesperson Aaron Johnson said there are 47 community resource centers available across the region where people can charge their phones and medical equipment. They will have access to snacks and water.
But people need to be prepared for the coronavirus precautions. Centers will require face coverings, physical distancing and temperature check as well as limit visitors at a single site.
Roughly 10,000 customers included in this power shutoff depend on power for medical devices.
PG&E gave 48 hours notice for this shutoff. When asked if this was enough time for customers to adequately prepare, Johnson said yes. Anything sooner is too early to tell weatherwise whether or not shutoffs are necessary.