Due to alarmingly dry conditions, PG&E says Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events are possible across parts of Wine Country — and elsewhere in California — starting early Monday, December 7.
Both KPIX and KRON4 reported Saturday that parts of Northern California are experiencing "extreme drought conditions" — with little to no rain expected for at least another week or two. (Strong offshore gusts are also expected to blow through the Bay Area starting Monday, but an NWS forecaster has said the timing of these strong winds and dry conditions won’t overlap with one another to intensify any fires that may start.") Because of these arid conditions, PG&E has said a series of planed power outages could play out Monday — which would affect some 130,000 customers — to prevent the start of any fires
“[Long-range] model trends are looking mainly dry for the next 7-10 days,” tweeted the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Monterey. “This week’s Drought Monitor shows much of the West under drought conditions. Since January 1st SFO has reported 4.47 inches of rain (over 11 months) which is 12.58 inches below normal.”
Monterey's drought conditions are also happening across much of the west; NWS has put most of California in either "D1" (moderate) or "D2" (severe) drought conditions — but much of wine country, though, is considered to be in the "D3" (extreme) tier of drought severity.
Long range model trends are looking mainly dry for the next 7-10 days. This weeks Drought Monitor shows much of the West under drought conditions. Since January 1st SFO has reported 4.47 inches of rain (over 11 months) which is 12.58 inches below normal. #DroughtMonitor pic.twitter.com/YiREXkHPpc— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) December 5, 2020
These bone-dry conditions also reflect an exceptionally low-rainfall year.
"Since January 1st SFO has reported 4.47 inches of rain (over 11 months) which is 12.58 inches below normal," tweeted the NWS Bay Area Saturday, having previously mentioned that the next "7-10 days" are looking quite dry.
The area hi-lighted in yellow represents fuel dryness at record dry levels for early Dec in the lower elevations throughout the Bay Area. Fire Danger will be increasing on Mon as offshore winds arrive. Humidity will initially be moist before drying out later Mon into Tue #2020 pic.twitter.com/ts4Ma3FJKy— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) December 5, 2020
The recent weather forecasting has led PG&E to move many Bay Area counties into "PSPS Outwage Watch" statuses, meaning that "shutoffs [are] likely" Monday when multiple power outage events could go into effect. The utility company, however, has said customers who might be affected by the PSPS happenings will receive a notification sometime today.
KRON4 has done us all a favor and listed all the counties likely to be affected by the PSPS events — as were laid out in a downloadable chart on PG&E’s website — and also showed the number of customers in each region that could lose power sometime Monday.
Alas, thousands in Wine Country (which includes Sonoma, Napa, and Lake counties) could lose power. PG&E notes that Monday's likely PSPS event will impact sixteen counties in total. As mentioned before: The outages are expected to affect some 130,000 customers with nearly 10,000 of those being Wine Country residents.
Image: Unsplash via Lukas Bato