By Donald Cutler
While Spring may have sprung throughout much of Northern and Central California, Mother Nature has at least one more winter storm in store for our communities.
PG&E is urging its customers and their families to stay safe this week as a significant weather system works its way across the region starting Thursday and into Friday. The most significant impact is expected along the northern coast and in the Sierras.
“Many Californians were looking forward to breaking out our sunglasses after a long winter, but we encourage everyone to have a plan for this week’s late-season storm and to be prepared for outages that could occur as a result of wet, windy weather conditions,” said Pat Hogan, senior vice president, Electric Operations. “We’re prepared to work around the clock to restore service safely and as quickly as possible.”
Spring 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 911 and by calling PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
- Stay clear of moving water: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. Just six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult and only 12 inches of rushing water can carry away a small car, according to the National Weather Service. Don’t take the risk and stay safe.
- Be aware of tree safety: Saturated soil means trees are more vulnerable to falling due to high winds. Make sure your trees are pruned before the storm to keep them from contacting with electric wires.
- Resupply emergency kits: It has been a long winter filled with weather emergencies. Please use this spring storm as a chance to do some spring cleaning and update the supplies and materials in your emergency kit.
- Safely clean up: After the storm has passed, be sure to safely clean up. Never touch downed wires and always call 811 or visit 811express.com at least two full business days before digging to have all underground utilities safely marked.
Technology at work for you
The integration of advanced communications and control technologies throughout the electric grid continues to enhance the resiliency of the system and helps identify and restore power outages more quickly as we face stronger and more regular storms across Northern and Central California.
In the last five years, PG&E has invested $15 billion to enhance and harden its electric transmission and distribution system assets. A wide range of factors, from the operation of new distribution control centers to the building of a smarter energy infrastructure to advances in forecasting and emergency planning, all contributed to better reliability during storms.
PG&E’s meteorology team has developed a Storm Outage Prediction Model that incorporates real-time weather forecasts, historic data and system knowledge to accurately show where and when storm impacts will be most severe. This model enables the company to pre-stage crews and equipment as storms approach to enable rapid response to outages.
For more information about outages and ways to prepare and stay safe during the storm, please visit www.pge.com.
Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.