Saturday, June 3, 2023

PG&E Specifies Areas of Mendocino County Likely to Lose Power Tonight as Fire Weather Watch Issued

[Stock image provided by Pixabay.com]

According to the latest information published by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, 669 customers in Mendocino County, including 30 medical baseline customers, are expected to lost power starting this evening as a fire weather watch descends on the region. A total of 1,778 residences in the Emerald Counties are forecast to go dark as a result.

This is a screenshot of the outage map on PG&E’s website.

As per mapping published by PG&E, the power shutoffs seem to be localized to the areas of Laytonville, residences along Branscomb Road and Spy Rock Road, a small section of homes in Brooktrails northwest of Willits, and a series of homes along Briceland Road near the Mendocino/Humboldt County line.

PG&E estimated shutoff time ranges from tonight at 8:00 p.m. till tomorrow morning at 4:00 a.m. Further estimates indicate all power should be restored by 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 19th.

Despite the fact these shutoffs range across hundreds of square miles of rural Northern Mendocino County, PG&E is only offering a singular charging center which will be located in Laytonville’s Harwood Hall located at 44400 Willits Ave. The Charging Center will be available today from 5:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. and tomorrow 8:00 a.m.- 10:00 p.m. Amenities offered at the Charging Center include blankets, snacks, water, device charging, restrooms/wash stations, small medical device charging, air-conditioning/hearing, ice, seating, and Wi-Fi.

A total of 681 customers are expected to lose power in Humboldt County including 16 medical baseline residents. Mapping of Humboldt County indicates these shutoffs will be localized to areas around Myers Flat, Weott, Redcrest, Dinsmore, and a number of residents on Briceland Thorne Road in the southwest corner of the county. PG&E forecasts these Humboldt County residences will lost their power starting early tomorrow morning between 3:00 a.m.-4:00 a.m. and will likely have power restored later that tomorrow by 10:00 p.m.

As far as Trinity County, PG&E predicts 428 customers, including 21 medical baseline customers, will lose power as a result of the impending Public Safety Power Shutoffs. Areas of Trinity County that are forecasted to lost power include the Mad River area along Highway 36, residences around Ruth Lake, southeast of Ruth Lake extending all the way to the Ruth Airport, and a cluster of homes along Ruth-Zenia Road. Like Humboldt County, PG&E forecasts these residences will lost their power starting early tomorrow morning between 3:00 a.m.-4:00 a.m. and will likely have power restored later that tomorrow by 10:00 p.m.

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The Charging Center that will be serving the Trinity County region will be located at Southern Trinity High School located at 600 Van Duzen Road in Mad River.

PG&E’s PSPS Potential Forecast Chart from their website

In the last 24 hours PG&E has updated their Public Safety Power Shutoff Potential forecasting from “Elevated” to an official “PSPS Watch” described as, “The company Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is activated for a reasonable chance of executing PSPS for public safety in a given county due to a combination of adverse weather and dry fuel conditions. A PSPS watch is typically only issued within 72 hours before the anticipated start of an event.”

[Infographic from NWS Eureka’s Facebook page]

As PG&E considers these measures, the National Weather Service Office in Eureka has issued a formal “Fire Weather Watch for tonight. A post on their Facebook page reads:

Gusty northeast to east winds are expected to develop over the upper slopes and ridges of Trinity and Northeast Mendocino counties, as well as most of Lake County. A Fire Weather Watch has been issued for these areas starting late Tuesday evening through Wednesday afternoon. For more information about your specific location, visit weather.gov/eka.

The following is a list of tips/tricks/wisdom to keep in mind when navigating a Public Safety Power Shutoff:

How to Prepare for the Public Safety Power Shutoff 

  • The following infographic from PG&E details suggested supplies residents should gather to prepare for the PSPS:
  • The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reminds residents, “Remember that gas pumps and ATMs don’t work without electricity. Best to fill up and try to keep your tank at least half full in case of a #PSPS2020Mendo.”
  • This website from FDA.gov provides practical strategies to keep the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer as low as possible during extended power outages.
  • This website from FoodSafety.gov provides a detailed list of food that can be saved and food that must be thrown out after any sort of extended power outage.

Generators 101

  • As residents prepare for the Public Safety Power Shutoff, many will be purchasing or operating a backup power system for their residence or business. We would like to provide some guidance in purchasing and safely utilizing this equipment.
    • To purchase a generator that meets your wattage needs, use this generator calculator to assess your electricity needs and buy the appropriate model.
    • This Wikihow article provides an overview of the set-up, use, and safety precautions of using an electric generator.

How to Monitor the Public Safety Power Shutoff

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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