OAKLAND, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Meteorologists are forecasting a significant weather system this weekend in Northern and Central California that could bring rain, gusty winds, heavy snow and the possibility of thunderstorms. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is preparing to respond to potential power outages and urges customers to be prepared as well.
PG&E meteorologists, along with experts from the National Weather Service, forecast that a potent storm system is expected to arrive in our service area overnight Friday before moving southward Saturday. This weather system is expected to produce rain, heavy at times, strong gusty winds, and heavy mountain snow across the Sierra. The strong winds in the 40-50 mph range may be widespread with gusts in excess of 50-55 mph possible for the northern areas, coastal strip north of Monterey, and across the northern San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys.
PG&E’s all-hands-on-deck response will be prepared to address any issues caused by the adverse weather which could result in trees, limbs and other debris falling onto powerlines, damaging equipment and interrupting electric service. PG&E vegetation management crews work year-round to keep trees away from powerlines, including before a storm.
We have a plan to respond to outages and have activated our companywide Emergency Operations Center to more efficiently allocate crews, materials and other resources for restoration efforts across our service area. Local PG&E operations emergency centers will also activate in impacted regions to provide efficient support to our customers.
“We are actively tracking the weather around the clock and supporting our local Electric Operations crews who are at the ready to respond to outage activity as quickly as possible,” said Evan Duffey, a PG&E meteorologist. “We urge customers to pay close attention to the weather and keep their situational awareness high to effectively respond to weather-related emergencies, as well as having an emergency plan in place to prepare for outages.”
PG&E’s meteorology team utilizes our Storm Outage Prediction Model that incorporates real-time weather forecasts, historical data and system knowledge to accurately show where and when storm impacts will be most severe. This model enables PG&E to pre-stage crews and equipment, such as power poles, powerlines, and transformers, as storms approach to enable rapid response to outages.
Keeping Customers Informed
Customers can view real-time outage information on our outage center website and search by a specific address, by city or by county. This site has been updated to include support in 16 languages.
Additionally, customers can sign up for outage notifications by text, email or phone. PG&E will send information to inform customers about the cause of an outage, repair crew response, estimated restoration time and when power has been actually restored.
Storm Safety Tips
- Never touch downed wires: If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and extremely dangerous. Do not touch or try to move it—and keep children and animals away. Report downed power lines immediately by calling 9-1-1 and then PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
- Use generators safely: Customers with standby electric generators should ensure they are properly installed by a licensed electrician in a well-ventilated area. Improperly installed generators pose a significant danger to customers, as well as crews working on powerlines. If using portable generators, be sure they are in a well-ventilated area.
- Use flashlights, not candles: During a power outage, use battery-operated flashlights and not candles, due to the risk of fire. And keep extra batteries on hand. If you must use candles, please keep them away from drapes, lampshades, animals and small children. Do not leave candles unattended.
- Have a backup phone: If you have a telephone system that requires electricity to work, such as a cordless phone or answering machine, plan to have a standard telephone or cellular phone ready as a backup. Having a portable charging device helps to keep your cell phone running.
- Have fresh drinking water and ice: Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator/freezer to prevent food spoilage.
- Turn off appliances: If you experience an outage, unplug or turn off all electrical appliances to avoid overloading circuits and to prevent fire hazards when power is restored. Simply leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns.
- Safely clean up: After the storm has passed, be sure to safely clean up. Never touch downed wires and always call 8-1-1 or visit 811express.com at least two full business days before digging to have all underground utilities safely marked.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is a combined natural gas and electric utility serving more than 16 million people across 70,000 square miles in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit pge.com and pge.com/news.