Despite threats of thousands of power outages throughout the Bay Area Wednesday night, most residents awoke Thursday still with the ability to flip on their lights and brew their morning cup of joe.
The utility company Pacific Gas & Electric warned as many as 4,200 customers could lose power overnight, but by 6 a.m., there were only scattered outages impacting a couple dozen in the North Bay.
A total of 28 customers in Sonoma, Lake and Yolo counties had their power cut due to fire hazard, according to PG&E, while there were more widespread outages further north. The power shutoffs in the North Bay began shortly before 5 a.m. and were expected to last through 10 p.m. Thursday.
The majority of the shutoffs came earlier Thursday morning in Shasta and Butte counties, where PG&E reported thousands losing power. Along the Interstate 5 corridor near Redding, the shutoffs began around 3 a.m.; a couple hours later, the began in Butte County, near the town of Paradise, which was devastated two years ago by a wildfire caused by a downed PG&E power line.
By about 5 a.m., the forecasted high winds that prompted a red-flag warning began to pick up in the North Bay, according to the National Weather Service. On Mt. Diablo, there were sustained winds of 31 mph with gusts reaching near 40 mph, while the lowest relative humidity was on Lower Atlas Peak Road in the Napa Valley.
Stock market image or EKG? Answer: Neither. Its a chart showing that fuels are at all time record dry for the Bay Area hills for this time of year. Where the blue line (this year) crosses the red line (historical max). Red Flag Warnings in effect for combo of wind/rh/fuel. pic.twitter.com/s707mdHAub
— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) October 22, 2020
Across the region, the grasses, shrubs and eucalyptus that cover the rolling hills reached record levels of dryness, according to the NWS. That, combined with increasing northeast winds and low humidity, could make for ideal fire conditions, prompting the NWS to issue the red-flag warning from 10 p.m. Wednesday through 8 a.m. Friday.
Early Thursday morning, the red-flag warning also took effect in the Santa Cruz mountains and East Bay hills.
Dan Carter was a reporter for nomad Labs, before becoming the lead editor. Dan has over forty bylines and has reported on countless stories concerning all things related to tech and science. Dan studied at CSUF.