Red flag warning issued for North Bay mountains, elevated risk of power shut-offs

The "Follow This Story" feature will notify you when any articles related to this story are posted.

When you follow a story, the next time a related article is published — it could be days, weeks or months — you'll receive an email informing you of the update.

If you no longer want to follow a story, click the "Unfollow" link on that story. There's also an "Unfollow" link in every email notification we send you.

This tool is available only to subscribers; please make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

Please note: This feature is available only to subscribers; make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

Subscribe

Preparing For Planned Outages

Make sure PG&E has your current contact information by going to www.pge.com or calling 1-800-743-5000.

Get local emergency alerts: Go to SoCoAlert.com or call 866-939-0911, press “0” at the menu and ask the operator for assistance in registering.

For a closer look at the map, including the ability to zoom in on certain areas, go here.

Learn how to prepare for power outages by going to www.ready.gov/power-outages.

For a list of resources to help in planning for disaster go to pressdemocrat.com/prepare.

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for high elevation areas of the North Bay starting Saturday night, when dry, warm weather and breezy winds are expected to pass through, increasing fire risk and raising the possibility of power shutoffs in the region, according to PG&E.

Sonoma County has been advised of the elevated outage potential, but the best information on Friday suggested the area would not be affected by the outage, said Chris Godley, the county’s emergency management director.

“We’re optimistic that even though we’re part of the same weather pattern, it looks like that the effects are further east,” Godley said, adding that forecast information was subject to change.

The warning will take effect Saturday at 8 p.m. and last through Sunday at 10 a.m., the weather service said. A mixture of low humidity, dry grass and brush and northeast winds of up to 20 mph were the main factors that prompted the red flag warning, said National Weather Service meteorologist Drew Peterson.

The warning, which indicates elevated fire risk, applies to mountainous areas over 1,000 feet, particularly eastern and far northwestern parts of Sonoma County. Meteorologists expect the strongest winds and gusts, topping 35 mph, will develop further east, however, posing a greater risk in eastern Napa and Yolo counties, Peterson said.

“The area that’s going to be of most concern for Sonoma County is going to be right on the county line, right near Napa,” Peterson said. “The area of greatest concern is northeastern Napa County.”

Temperatures will hit the mid to upper 80s in parts of central Sonoma County on Saturday, Peterson said. Calmer winds are expected on Sunday, though temperatures will climb to the low 90s in some areas, he added.

Napa County officials sent public alerts to residents about the heightened fire weather conditions Friday morning via Nixle and Facebook and will continue to monitor weather conditions over the weekend, said Kevin Twohey, the county’s Office of Emergency Services coordinator.

PG&E officials also advised Napa County Friday morning of a greater chance of a power outage amid the warning period and said they would contact them again if weather conditions suggested a higher likelihood of power shut-offs, Twohey said.

PG&E’s online forecast indicated an “elevated” potential for a planned power shutoff on Sunday to prevent wildfires affecting the North Bay. Though the weather is expected to cool down as soon as Monday, the elevated outage outlook is expected to return Thursday.

Weather models indicate the potential for gusty winds near the end of next week, according to PG&E.

“At this time, the forecast doesn’t indicate the need to initiate a public safety power shutoff but weather conditions can change quickly,” PG&E spokeswoman Deanna Contreras said. “We remind our customers to have a plan and make sure we have your updated contact information.”

PG&E’s deliberations on whether to escalate the forecast to an outage watch or warning will depend on the weather, Contreras said. On Friday, the utility indicated power shutdowns were more likely for the Sierra Nevada region.

“The cadence and frequency of notifications will depend, however, on the forecasted gusty winds and dry conditions, combined with a heightened fire risk, and how quickly those threats change, among other factors,” she said.

You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or nashelly.chavez@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @nashellytweets. You can reach Staff Writer Will Schmitt at 707-521-5207 or will.schmitt@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @wsreports.

Preparing For Planned Outages

Make sure PG&E has your current contact information by going to www.pge.com or calling 1-800-743-5000.

Get local emergency alerts: Go to SoCoAlert.com or call 866-939-0911, press “0” at the menu and ask the operator for assistance in registering.

For a closer look at the map, including the ability to zoom in on certain areas, go here.

Learn how to prepare for power outages by going to www.ready.gov/power-outages.

For a list of resources to help in planning for disaster go to pressdemocrat.com/prepare.

Show Comment

Our Network

Sonoma Index-Tribune
Petaluma Argus Courier
North Bay Business Journal
Sonoma Magazine
Bite Club Eats
La Prensa Sonoma
Emerald Report
Spirited Magazine