Bay Area mostly averts PG&E power shut-off, weather all-clear given
SANTA ROSA, Calif. - From Livermore to Napa Valley's high elevations, the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for parts of the North and East Bay that went into effect Sunday night.
Even though up to 7,000 customers were expected to lose power throughout the state by 5 a.m. Monday, Pacific Gas & Electric had only turned off power to less than 200 people in Napa and Solano counties by noon. No other counties in the Bay Area were affected because of the planned power shutoffs.
By Monday evening PG&E's meteorology team had given the weather ‘all-clear’ signal. Utility officials can now go into the field and inspect de-energized areas to make sure the conditions are safe for turning the power back on. The all-clear signal includes Napa and Solano counties. Many customers in the North Bay have already had their power restored, the utility said.
PG&E crews are separately working to restore power to approximately 200 customers who are without power right now in El Cerrito, Hercules, Richmond, San Pablo and Oakland (East Bay). "Most of these customers were impacted by the weather-related outages that started on Sunday, in which PG&E is replacing damaged equipment. Crews made significant progress and expect to restore the remaining customers by 6pm tonight," the utility said.
The hills between Napa and Sonoma Counties are included in that red flag warning and were potentially the most fire-prone areas to watch, according to Paul Lowenthal, the Santa Rosa Fire Department's assistant fire marshal.
Additionally, the city of Fairfield issued a Red Flag Closure for Rockville Hills Regional Park, Spyglass Open Space, and the Serpas Ranch/Rolling Hills Open Space. The closures are due to weather conditions posing high fire danger. The properties will be closed at all entry points until Tuesday at sunrise.
A few days of light showers across Sonoma County's lower elevations barely made a dent in the surrounding hills, which struggled to get even a tenth of an inch o rain over the past week.
"We had a lot of people that were very relieved that we finally received some significant wetting rains," Lowenthal said, noting that the relief was quickly replaced by concern.
"With high temperatures, low humidity and gusty winds, that just dries out a lot of that kind of progress we received for a really short period of time," Lowenthal said.
Spread across several city and county fire stations, 40 additional firefighters and 13 extra engines will remain on duty across Sonoma County until Monday night.
"We definitely don't pay attention to just what's happening in our community, we pay attention to what's happening around it," Lowenthal said, "to make sure that our community as a whole is better prepared."