Pacific Gas and Electric Company's (PG&E) emergency operations center, operations and meteorology teams, have been monitoring a new potentially widespread, strong and dry wind event Tuesday morning through midday Wednesday. The first round of shutoffs were expected as early as 2 p.m. on Saturday, but were delayed, according to PG&E during a press conference Saturday night.
High-risk fire conditions in the Central Valley could lead to a shutoff in San Luis Obispo because the two PG&E transmission lines that power the county connect to lines hundreds of miles away, according to San Luis Obispo County Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Anita Konopa.
PG&E expects outage times to vary due to the different times each area may be impacted - some may see winds lasting longer periods than others. Blackouts are affecting parts of 38 counties and last until at least Monday.
The potential Tuesday safety shutoff is planned for varying start times depending on location throughout PG&E's service area and is expected to impact portions of 32 counties in the Northern and Southern Sierra, North Bay, Bay Area and Santa Cruz mountains, North Coast and Kern County.
The company had announced the shutoff earlier this week, citing their forecasts of unsafe wind conditions.
Some customers may continue to be impacted by the PSPS event, while others may experience power outages due to weather damage to the electric system.
The company is already seeking bankruptcy protection as it faces lawsuits over last year's Camp Fire, which killed 85 people.
This means the electricity that usually powers necessities, including traffic signals, refrigeration, gasoline pumps and charging outlets will not be accessible during a shutoff. Customers enrolled in the company's Medical Baseline program who do not verify that they have received these important safety communications will be individually visited by a PG&E employee with a knock on their door when possible. The evacuation area was expanded to an additional 39,000 people later that day, Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick said. "You can not fight this, please evacuate".
The Kincade Fire in Sonoma County has burned almost 25,500 acres since it started Wednesday night, and in northwest Los Angeles, the Tick Fire has burned 4,600 acres.
The department said it was preparing for more wind Sunday and Monday.