PG&E has alerted customers in 30 counties they may lose power. The proactive outage alert covers every Bay Area county, except San Francisco and Marin County. PG&E says it will shut off power to parts of Napa County, as well as the cities of Lafayette, Moraga and Orinda if the weather doesn’t change.
CalTrans announced they will close the Tom Lantos Tunnel, commonly known as the “Devil’s Slide,” on HIghway 1 from 12 pm Wednesday to Thursday afternoon.
A Red Flag Warning is in effect for all Bay Area counties except San Francisco. The warning goes into effect tomorrow at 5 a.m. to Thursday at 5 p.m.. Gusts are expected to reach 45-55 mph and humidity will reach 10-20 percent.
According to the Lafayette Police Department, they were notified by PG&E that they will be conducting a shutoff in Moraga, Orinda and Lafayette from Wednesday 4:00 a.m. to Thursday 12:00 p.m. If weather conditions do not change they will begin de-energizing the power lines at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday.
This shutoff is expected to impact 6,516 in Moraga and 7,500 in Lafayette.
The main period of weather risk is early Wednesday morning through Thursday midday. The dry, windy weather pattern is expected to reach from the northern portions of PG&E’s service territory and down through the Sacramento Valley before spreading into the central areas of the state including most of the Bay Area.
PG&E said they will continue to monitor weather conditions and provide updates to customers. However, they announced that as of 10 a.m. Tuesday, they are experiencing high volume of traffic to their website, which is causing delays accessing their outage-related web pages.
PG&E launched a website in August to warn customers about pre-emptive shutoffs. Go here to learn more.
The city of Oakland held a news conference on Tuesday to discuss their plans for a possible shutdown. Mayor Libby Schaaf says residents should prepare for an outage lasting up to five days.
There are 12 schools in the Oakland Unified School District that will possibly be affected by this outage, impacting 5,000 students.
Ice was the hottest item at the Orinda Safeway this morning as residents raced to prepare for the PG&E power shutdown. Customers say store clerks could barely keep up with the demand.
“They were just restocking and just about everybody in the check-out line was buying some. It won’t last for long! The batteries were slim too so I am glad I am going in to work late for this,” said Jamie Peterson as he loaded ice into his car.
He plans to try and save whatever food he when his refrigerator gets turned off.
“We’re putting it in a cooler so we can have some refrigerated items that we can access without having to go into the refrigerator or freezer to lose the remaining cold air in there,” he said.
The hardware store on Moraga Way was also busy this morning. By 8:00 a.m. the store was already out of some key items.
“We sold out of a lot of stuff: lamps, battery powered lights, lanterns, coolers and ice blocks,” sales clerk Etienne Rijkheer explained.
The store does not sell generators. Some people turned to the internet to try and keep their homes powered.
“We bought a generator just in case. A small one in case we need something for back-up power. Amazon is delivering it today so we will test it out and see if it works,” said Moraga resident Dylan Davis.
Officials in Moraga, Orinda and Lafayette have notified residents that PG&E plans to shut off the power tomorrow between midnight and 4 a.m.. It could be off for days. PG&E officials say the utility is trying to prevent wildfires from starting when the hot dry wind kicks up.
Residents were also filling up their cars before gas pumps get turned off.
“I filled one car up with gas going to fill another one up with gas and get a kerosene lantern. I can’t find mine so that’s what I am doing,” said hardware store customer Jane, who did not want to give her last name.
The notice said the power could be out for up to 5 days, but Jane is hoping that won’t be the case.
“I can’t believe they’re going to keep the power off for 5 days but we will see,” she said.
Businesses may be moving a lot of merchandise today but that will all change when the power is turned off.
“When the power goes off, we will probably have to close down because we have no internet, no network stuff like that so we have to close down,” Rijkheer explained.
He says if the power outage lasts for days, the store might explore the option of making cash only transactions.
Roy’s Station Coffee and Teas is a bright spot in San Jose, but the business feels like PG&E is leaving it in the dark in more ways than one.
“I know they’ve got a job to do, but I guess so do we,” Derrick Sanderlin, a senior barista said.
A significant wind event is expected for Wednesday and Thursday. It’s still unclear if PG&E will go through with their Public Safety Power Shutoff or PSPS. If they do, Roy’s Station along with about 38,000 other customers in Santa Clara County, will lose service. Roy’s Station will close their doors.
“Basically hanging on to figure out what we’re going to do next, from hour to hour,” Sanderlin said. “It’s been really difficult to figure out what we’re going to do for refrigerating all of our perishables.”
PG&E is providing community resource centers across the region, like Avaya Stadium in San Jose. The stadium will provide air conditioning, chargers, and water.
The centers will stay open from 8am to 6pm every day that the power is off. However, they won’t be serving food. If your groceries go bad in the South Bay, Second Harvest Food Bank can help you.
“At Second Harvest, we are trained to respond in case of a disaster so we have generators to fully power all of our facilities,” Leslie Bacho, CEO of Second Harvest Silicon Valley, said. “We will be up and running even if the power is out.”
The food bank works with over 300 agency partners. It’s likely some of them will be impacted if there’s a PSPS.
“We’ll be in touch with our agency partners so see who’s open and who’s not,” Bacho said.
Anyone can call Second Harvest’s hotline or visit their website and the center will connect you to food.