As Winter Rain and Snow Hit California, PG&E Is Prepared to Respond to Storm-Related Outages
By Libby O'Connell
As rain and snow move into California, emergency crews across the PG&E service area are ready to safely respond to possible storm-related outages.
Stormy weather that entered the area beginning Sunday is expected to bring widespread rain showers to much of the state and snow to some areas, potentially as low as at 2,500 feet, in Sierra Nevada. Another wave of gusty winds is expected along with moderate rain and heavy snow Tuesday morning, followed by the potential for thunderstorms in the afternoon.
Safety crews and equipment
In anticipation of widespread winter storm conditions, PG&E activated its Emergency Operations Center on Sunday, Nov. 6 and has positioned personnel and equipment to safely and quickly respond to potential weather-related outages.
In advance of the storm, PG&E’s vegetation management crews will be working to keep trees away from powerlines during the forecasted wet and windy weather to reduce the risk of outages caused by downed trees and other vegetation.
Adverse weather conditions are expected to peak on Tuesday as unstable air and moisture remain throughout Northern California causing widespread showers at lower elevations and snow in colder, higher elevation locations.
Wet and hazardous weather could linger into Wednesday in some locations ahead of mostly fair and dry conditions on Thursday. Although another, weaker system could bring more wet weather on the weekend.
PG&E’s meteorology team has developed a Storm Outage Prediction Model that incorporates real-time weather forecasts, historical data and system knowledge to predict 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.
PG&E is urging its customers to take the necessary steps to be prepared and stay safe throughout the winter.
- 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.
- Use flashlights, not candles: During a power outage, use battery-operated flashlights, and not candles, due to the risk of fire. If you must use candles, please keep them away from drapes, lampshades 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.
- Have fresh drinking water, ice: Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator/freezer during an outage to prevent foods from spoiling. Blue Ice from your picnic cooler also works well in the freezer.
- Use generators safely: Customers with standby electric generators should make sure 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 power lines. If using portable generators, be sure they are in a well-ventilated area.
- 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. Turn your appliances back on one at a time when conditions return to normal.
- Safely clean up: After the inclement weather 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.
Other tips can be found at pge.com/beprepared
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