A red flag weather warning will take effect today and power could be shut off for Yuba County foothills residents later this week.
The red flag warning was called to be in effect from Wednesday to Friday, according to a bulletin from the Sacramento office of the National Weather Service. The “weather impact’’ was upgraded from low to high and the forecast calls for “fire weather” through most of the week, citing continued dry weather and northerly winds, meaning any new or existing fires in the region could grow rapidly.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. is notifying customers in the region of the potential for public safety power shutoffs as early as this afternoon, according to a news release.
The hot and dry conditions and high wind gusts pose an increased risk for damage to the electrical system that has the potential to ignite fires.
The potential shutoffs are forecast to affect some 50,000 customers in parts of 21 counties, including Yuba County. A shutoff could potentially affect some 1,841 customers in Yuba County.
As winds subside later in the week, PGE will inspect de-energized lines for damage and then restore power as soon as possible, according to the news release.
The goal is to restore customers within 12 daylight hours.
“State officials classify more than half of PG&E’s 70,000-square-mile service area in northern and central California as having a high fire threat, given dry grasses and a high volume of dead and dying trees,” according to the news release.
PGE customers are urged to:
– Plan for medical needs, such as medications that require refrigeration or devices that need power.
– Identify backup charging methods.
– Build or restrock emergency kits.
– Keep in mind family members who are elderly or young children and pets.
PGE will open a community resource center today at the Alcouffe Center at 9185 Marysville Road, Oregon House. Hours of operation will be 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Available resources will include snacks, water, air conditioning/heating, device charging, ice, ADA-accessible restrooms and washing stations, small medical device charging and wifi.
The NWS predicts temperatures will be 5 to 15 degrees above normal by the end of the week.
The strongest winds are expected this morning through Thursday.
“These dry, northerly to easterly winds combined with low relative humidity values and dry fuels will lead to critical fire weather conditions,” according to the NWS bulletin. “The strongest winds will first develop on the western side of the Sacramento Valley during the day on Wednesday and continue into Thursday. Winds in the mountains and foothills will ramp up on Wednesday evening and overnight into Thursday. A renewed burst of potentially stronger winds may develop for the mountains and foothills on Thursday night and into Friday morning.”
Critical fire weather conditions are expected to linger into Friday morning, according to the NWS, and no rain is expected over the next seven days.