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PG&E warns of potential outages ahead of winter storm

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CENTRAL COAST, Calif. (KION) UPDATED 11/25/19 10:54 p.m.: PG&E is warning customers to be prepared for potential power outages ahead of a winter storm coming in Tuesday.

The storm is expected to start Tuesday afternoon, and PG&E said crews are ready to respond to any outages that may come as a result of the wind, heavy rain and snow in some parts of the state.

KION is told, the major concern is the possibility of downed trees which could impact both power lines and roads.

One area that could be impacted the most by this kind of weather is the Santa Cruz Mountains.

But locals KION spoke with don’t seem phased by the possibility of outages this time of year.

“Ive been living up here my whole life and I’ve kind of gotten used to it,” said Jehu Zepeda from Los Gatos.

Much of the area in the Santa Cruz Mountains is heavily wooded and covered in tall trees.  When the rains dampens the soil, it could create the potential for trees to fall and take power lines down with them.

The lines run close to the tree tops as well as Highway 17. And a downed tree could also cause problems on the roads, especially during Thanksgiving–one pf the busiest travel days of the year.

Fallen trees also cause an inconvenience during commute hours.

“Depends on the time of day. if it’s early in the morning, people need to get to work and they’ve got to get it out,” said local Jeffrey Hamernick.

Some areas of the Santa Cruz Mountains could even see snow.

PG&E said they're gathering power poles, transformers, and other equipment ahead of time to fix anything impacted by the storm. 

They will have an operations emergency center in Santa Cruz on 7th Ave to serve the entire Central Coast. If conditions get worse, they will set up another site in Scotts Valley.

Santa Cruz County Public Works told KION they've also been preparing for the storm for the past few months, and don’t anticipate this one to cause major problems.

“We have our drains cleared and our crews are prepared and ready to take care of any flooding that occurs,” said Santa Cruz County Public Works Road Superintendent Vance Wagner.

The public works department has trucks ready for sanding, as they typically do ahead of winter, in case any ice or snow hazards appear on the road.

PG&E says outages are possible. They will send employees from less impacted regions into areas with the most damage to help with power restoration efforts. 

ORIGINAL STORY: PG&E is warning customers to be prepared for potential power outages ahead of a winter storm coming in Tuesday.

The storm is expected to start Tuesday afternoon, and PG&E said crews are ready to respond to any outages that may come as a result of the wind, heavy rain and snow in some parts of the state.

Once the storm comes in, PG&E said it will activate operations emergency centers to have resources ready for restoration. A spokesperson for the utility said as the storm passes through, they will send employees from less impacted regions to those with heavier damage to help crews there.

PG&E gave some tips for outage preparation, including:

  • Keep battery-operated flashlights with fresh batteries on hand
  • Keep battery-operated radios with fresh batteries ready
  • Freeze water in plastic containers to make blocks of ice that can be placed in refrigerators to prevent food from spoiling
  • Secure or put away items outdoors that can be blown into power lines

The utility also gave safety tips that include:

  • Treating all low hanging and downed lines as if they are energized. PG&E recommends staying away from them and objects that may be in contact with the lines. If you see damaged lines or equipment, you are asked to call 911 and then PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.
  • Use a battery-operated flashlight instead of candles to reduce the risk of fire. If you do use candles, PG&E recommends keeping them away from textiles, holiday trees and small children.
  • Make sure generators are installed by a licensed electrician.
  • Turn off electric appliances during an outage to avoid overloading circuits. Instead, leave one lamp on to let you know when the power is back on. After that, it is recommended that you turn appliances back on one at a time.
Central Coast / Monterey County / Power Outage / San Benito County / Santa Cruz County / Top Stories

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.

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