With red flag warning in effect, a look at PG&E's power shutoff threshold

With significant winds prompting a red flag warning this weekend, PG&E may need to shut off your power for public safety reasons. 

The red flag warning for the North Bay Mountains and East Bay Hills above 1,000 feet is in effect from late Friday night until early Sunday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

If PG&E has to cut power for public safety reasons, they will not pay for lost food at homes, lost business hours or other items. 

"There's a lot of criteria that PG&E Meteorologists and analysts look at before deciding a public safety power shutoff," said PG&E Spokesperson Deanna Contreras.

The main things, but only in the right combination, determine if power will be cut:
1.    A National Weather Service issued Red Flag Warning.
2.    Humidity levels, generally 20 percent and under.
3.    Forecasts of sustained winds above approximately 25 mph as well as wind gusts above 45 mph.
4.    The temperature, terrain and local climate conditions in the potential shutoff area
5.    The condition of dead or dry fuel on the ground as well as the moisture content of live vegetation.
6.    Observations from PG&E field crews.
But since all these criteria can literally change by the minute, they are constantly monitored in real time. It can take days to restore power after such a shut off. "So we have to monitor every foot of every line to make sure there's no faults, no debris on the line before we can energize it again," said PG&E's Contreras.

PG&E does not anticipate such a shut off for this weekend's winds.