UPDATE 10/25/20, 11:40 p.m. — Here is our latest:
MENDOCINO Co., 10/24/20 — It’s October in Mendocino County and that apparently means it’s time to turn off the power. With extreme fire weather forecast to begin Sunday evening and continue well into Monday, Pacific Gas & Electric will be cutting power to large sections of Northern California to perhaps as many as 1 million people.
However, the specifics of just what areas will have their power cut and when remain uncertain. As recently as Friday evening PG&E was saying that much of the Hopland, Willits, Redwood Valley, Potter Valley, Laytonville, Covelo, and surrounding areas would lose power. Exempted from those estimates were Ukiah (which runs its own power utility, and only receives power from PG&E via a high powered transmission line) and the coast. However, as of Saturday night, PG&E’s public map shows a substantial down-scaling of the shut-off, with only Hopland and the extremely rural eastern fringes of the county affected — also included in this new map are a northern sliver of the county near Piercy, which draws its power from Humboldt County.
Power is projected to be cut Sunday afternoon, and restored Tuesday evening. But experience has shown that these estimates can change suddenly, and that PG&E has been less than perfectly transparent about their decisions. Ultimately the decision of where to cut the power will also depend on the weather and how severe the winds become.
Power will be cut to people in a total of 38 counties, not only in PG&E’s service area but also in Southern California, and Lake and Sonoma counties will be especially hard hit. Humboldt County too will likely see more shut offs than Mendocino. The reasons for this exact pattern involve both forecasts for where weather will be worst and the vagaries of the power transmission and distribution system.
For several days meterologists have been predicting extreme fire weather, with dangerously low humidity and high winds, beginning Sunday afternoon, and much of the state has been placed under a red flag warning for that period. Indeed, current forecasts indicate that Sunday’s “wind event” may be equivalent in severity to the catastrophic fire weather that struck the region during the 2017 Fire Siege.
So, while most of Mendocino County, with the exception of the northeast and southeast corners, will likely be spared the worst of the wind, the lay out of the power grid means that some places will still experience enough wind to merit a shut off of the distribution lines, that is the lines that run from substations to homes, businesses and other customers.
Customers who have registered for notifications with PG&E should have received notifications.
Here’s where you can check for the specific plans for your address, and see the larger PG&E planned power shut-off map. More information about specific areas under red flag warnings can be found at NWS, but fire risk remains high across the region
Here’s the announcement from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office:
DATE: “October 24, 2020”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Incident Number: 2020
PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff – POTENTIAL EVENT
Date of Incident:
POTENTIAL: 10-25-20 (Sunday) to 10-27-20 (Tuesday)
POTENTIAL SHUTOFF TIMING:
Phase #1 (10-25-20 from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM)
Phase #2 (10-25-20 from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM)
10-27-20 from 8:00 PM to 12:00 AM
Captain Gregory L. Van Patten #1184
MENDOCINO COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
MENDOCINO COUNTY OFFICE OF EMERGENCY SERVICES
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and the Mendocino County Office of Emergency Services coordinated with local PG&E representatives early this morning (10-24-20) and participated in a statewide coordination call at 9:00 AM in reference to the POTENTIAL PSPS event planned for 10-25-2020 as early as 12:00 PM in Mendocino County.
Currently, PG&E projects 8,681 customers will be impacted and that restoration will take place on 10-27-2020. PG&E is working diligently to minimize the number of customers impacted while still providing safety.
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and the Mendocino County Office of Emergency Services will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide verified/accurate information to the public as it becomes available in a timely manner.
Please follow the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Nixle, Press Release Subscription) to get the most accurate and timely updated information throughout today (October 24th).
We ask the community to rely on these informational platforms at this time as opposed to calling our Public Safety Dispatch Center, which will distract dispatchers from primary dispatching duties. This request is being made with public safety and officer safety in mind.
We encourage PG&E customers to continue monitoring https://pgealerts.alerts.pge.com/outages/map/ in order to determine what impacts the PSPS might have on their homes or businesses.
We encourage those serviced by the City of Ukiah to visit https://www.cityofukiah.com/psps/ Additional preparedness info can be found at https://www.pge.com/en_US/residential/outages/public-safety-power-shuttoff/prepare/prepare-for-psps.page?