Dry, Windy Conditions Elevate Potential for More PG&E Power Shutoffs This Week

High winds and dry conditions have weather officials warning of a possible increased risk of wildfires in the Bay Area this week, and those very conditions have PG&E monitoring the potential for more power shutoffs later in the week.

PG&E on Monday said it could shut off power to roughly 209,000 customers across parts of the following 16 counties: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Mateo, Sierra, Sonoma, Sutter and Yuba.

Light-to-moderate northeast winds with poor humidity are forecasted for through Tuesday, followed by moderate-to-strong winds on Wednesday and Thursday, the National Weather Service said. Temperatures are expected to rise into the 80s in many areas.

In the North Bay mountains and East Bay hills, wind strength is expected to increase through Thursday, with gusts of up to 55 mph starting Wednesday night, the NWS said.

In Sonoma County, residents displayed a mix of reactions to the possibility of more power shutoffs. Some residents discussed possibly suing PG&E and others shrugged the potential outages off, saying nothing can be done. But nobody was happy about what may be coming.

Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane is upset over PG&E's lack of specific information.

"They basically made a lot of promises that they were going to improve how they notify people and how they break down the grid. Have they done this yet? No, we haven't seen it," Zane said.

Similar conditions prompted PG&E to shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers in the Bay Area and beyond on Oct. 9-10, but the upcoming event is not forecast to be as strong as that wind event, PG&E and weather forecasters said.

In a hearing last week before the Public Utility Commission, PG&E promised it will improve. NBC Bay Area's Investigative Reporter Jaxon Van Derbeken covered the hearing and said the utility told regulators the same thing the counties are hearing: promises to do better and very little in terms of specifics.

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