SALINAS, Calif. (KION)
UPDATE 10/13/2020 6:30 p.m. PG&E customers in parts of Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties are some of the roughly 54,000 customers who may lose power starting Wednesday.
The utility said it has not declared a Public Safety Power Shutoff at this point, but they are prepared to potentially declare one Wednesday at the earliest depending on conditions.
The 24 affected counties are broken down into three clusters, and each cluster has a different time frame in which they may face outages. Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties are in Cluster 2, and the potential outage could last from 8 p.m. Wednesday to 10 p.m. Friday.
In the 24 counties, there are 40 community resource centers that will be set up if a shutoff is declared. Those would open at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the earliest. There is one location in Monterey County and three in Santa Cruz County.
Check to see if your home could be affected here.
UPDATED 10/13/2020 12:00 p.m. PG&E could turn off power for a portion of customers in Monterey and Santa Cruz County as early as tomorrow afternoon due to a potential Public Safety Power Shutoff.
This PSPS is still just a possibility for now and not certain.
During a typical PSPS, PG&E turns off power for public safety reasons when there are extreme weather conditions that could spark fires if power lines are energized.
Hot and dry conditions and high wind gusts are expected to arrive Wednesday evening for some parts of the central coast that pose a high fire risk.
Portions of the Santa Cruz and Big Sur mountains are the highest probability areas on the Central Coast.
“The reason behind this is because there is a lot of dry vegetation and the gusts—the high wind is expected also in this area,” PG&E Spokesperson Mayra Tostado said.
The winds are expected to subside by Thursday or Friday morning.
The potential shutoff could impact 50,000 customers across 21 California counties, including 1,084 customers in Monterey County and about 1,680 in Santa Cruz County.
If power is shutoff, the agency expects to restore most customers within 12 daylight hours after weather conditions pass.
Tostado they will open up customer resource centers, if needed, where people can charge devices and medical equipment.
During the pandemic, there will be social distancing protocols at the centers.
The agency recommends preparing resources now, like batteries, flashlights and medical equipment.
PREVIOUS STORY 10/12/20:
Pacific Gas and Electric has upgraded the possibility of a public safety power shutoff (PSPS) to a watch, including areas in Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties.
Because of a potential Diablo wind event lasting Wednesday through Friday, the company has asked that people prepare, should the need arise for an actual shutoff.
The current forecast shows PSPS Watch in Zones 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 for the upcoming event.
Monterey County is in Zones 6 and 7, and Santa Cruz County is in Zones 3 and 7.
Click here to see a zone map.
PG&E says, "at this time, the highest probability areas for executing PSPS are the Northern Sierra Nevada foothills, the mid and higher elevations in the Sierra generally north of Yosemite (northern portion of Zone 8), the North Bay mountains near Mt. St. Helena, small pockets in the East Bay near Mt. Diablo, the Oakland Hills east of Piedmont (generally between highway 24 and Upper San Leandro Reservoir), the elevated terrain east of Milpitas around Calaveras Reservoir, as well as portions of the Santa Cruz and Big Sur mountains. This is not expected to be a widespread event in the Bay Area at this time. The weather event is expected to begin Wednesday evening and continue through Thursday morning. A second period of winds may develop Thursday evening through Friday morning in the Northern Sierra and Zones 2 and 5 are extended into Friday."