Those Diablo winds aren't showing signs of stopping just yet. And after shutoffs that have already gotten underway in Sonoma and Napa counties and elsewhere Wednesday, with more to begin Wednesday night, weather models suggest windy conditions that could lead to power shutoffs for an even wider swath of Northern California on Sunday and Monday.
"The models haven’t been in agreement around what’s going to happen," says National Weather Service forecaster Spencer Tangen, speaking to SFGate. "But it’s looking like there’s a good potential the winds with this one could be stronger than what we see with this current one."
The Chronicle reports, via PG&E's latest forecast, that while five of PG&E's service zones are under a "warning" today and tomorrow for potential shutoffs, eight out of a total nine zones are now facing an "elevated" risk of shutoffs Sunday and Monday. That assessment makes the late weekend shutoffs look potentially as widespread or even more widespread than what occurred two weeks ago, when some two million or more Northern Californians had their power go out across 30 counties. The shutoffs planned for Wednesday into Thursday, by contrast, are only likely to impact a couple hundred thousand people.
"The kind of event we might see Sunday and Monday is the kind of event where not only is it seemingly windy in these more remote regions in the hills, but it may also end up being quite windy in some other parts of Northern California at lower elevations," says UCLA climatologist Daniel Swain, speaking to the Chronicle.
What this means for the nine-county Bay Area remains to be seen in the coming days as these weather models come into focus.
But PG&E spokesperson Jennifer Robison has already — ominously — said to the Chronicle that "there may be some overlap" for power customers who lose power Wednesday and Thursday and then again have to lose power Sunday, warning that the utility may not be able to be speedy in getting power restored everywhere.
Parts of Sonoma County lost power just after noon on Wednesday, and parts of rural San Mateo County are expected to go dark later tonight. PG&E earlier said that significant parts of Butte, El Dorado, and Nevada Counties would have their power shut off around 3 p.m. Wednesday.