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tv   NBC Bay Area News at 6  NBC  October 9, 2019 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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south bay. this massive pgz power shutoff because of dangerous conditions. so far more than 400,000 people in the dark in the bay area and counting. let's give you a live look at some of those places without power. we're talking marin, sonoma, napa and solano counties along with others farther north. they saw the lights go out early this morning. pg&e, however, delayed planned outrages in contra costa, alameda, san mateo, and santa clara counties. instead of flipping that switch at noon today, as it said yesterday it would do, the utility said it would begin those shutoffs for the areas at 8:00 this evening. and that fear of losing power is causing one south bay community to institute a curfew. we'll get to that story in a bit. meanwhile, we're monitoring an update from pg&e. it's happening right now. let's listen in. >> cpr certified. we have an ae d-back by the desk. if we need to call corporate security we have someone waiting out in the llway. if there is an earthquake,
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please duck, cover and hold as best you're able. and if we need to get out, we go out through these door, exit to the left and go out across to beck toll plaza. if that's not safe, we go to embarcadero plaza at the end of market street. should we have an active shooter situation, we want to get out, hide out and take out. so with that, now having covered safety, let me outline what we're going to do tonight. we envision going 30, maybe 35 minutes. our lineup will include to my right who is vice president of community wildfire safety program. we'll have an update from scott strefield and our chief customer office will give an update about the web. so with that, i'm going to turn it over to samit to get us started. >> thank you, keith. thank you for joining us again tonight. overall, i want to iterate a few
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points before i turn it over to scott strenfel to provide an update in regards to the forecast. first, i want to iterate that we understand the impact that turning power has on our customers and our communities. this is not a decision that we take lightly. and we thank our customers and our communities for your patience. second, we would like to remind our customers and our community members as to why we are making this decision. and this decision is all about public safety, which is our most important responsibility. given the forecast for the severe and widespread wind conditions that scott will discuss and the increased fire risk associated with these conditions, we took the step to ensure the safety of our
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customers in our communities as a last resort. and we're committed to reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire events. i would also like to reiterate as we discussed last nieght tha the public safety power shutoff program is part of our comprehensive multifaceted approach to risk reduction measures that we are implementing as it pertains to the unprecedented wildfire risk that our state is facing. we are fundamentally redesigning and hardening our system that we discussed yesterday in terms of undergrounding, significant increase in clearing vegetation and trees in and around our overhead assets, conducting enhanced inspections with the best available technology using drones with high resolution imagery. we have a 24/7 wildfire safety operations center that is fully
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staffed. we have implemented weather station, high definition camera, and all of this is providing a situational awareness and the intelligence in regards to the weather forecast and the subsequent risk that our communities are facing in regards to potential wildfires. with that, i'm going to request our principle meteorologist scott strenfeld to come up and provide a weather forecast with with regards to what we're seeing. scott? >> thank you. scott strenfeld. meteorology has been tracking over the last week what we call a diablo windstorm. essentially, we're going have a weather system that is going to be an inside slider, a classic setup for what we know as diablo winds across southern california. and then as that system moves south thursday into friday, it's actually going to produce some santa ana winds across southern california, including portions of our territory, the tehachapi mountains. so this is a total california
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wide california weather event. essentially, there is going to be multiple phases of this event that meteorology continues to track. the first phase occurred today. we had north winds going down the sacramento valley as well as some of our adjacent terrain on either side of the valley. we saw redding, portions of redding up in that area hit gusts of 50 miles per hour. and one thing i just wanted to go back and say about these diablo and santa ana wind events is that these events historically are the events that cause the most destructive wildfires in california history. and so we're seeing some of the same conditions that are going to develop in this event that we've seen in previous offshore diablond santa ana wind events. so it's a pretty serious situation. meteorology continues to coordinate with our agency partners. every day we are joining an interagency call with the national weather service and the northern operations predictive
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services. and essentially, the meteorologies and forecast agencies are aligned that this is a high-risk event. if you don't know, there is national -- the national weather service has issued widespread red flag warnings across most of northern california, and those red flag warnings are also in effect for the tehachapi mountains as well as southern california. and what i'm showing on the screen here is that our predictive services northern operations also has this as a high risk event and is indicating that there is a high risk of significant fires. and pg&e meteorology is looking at similar conditions as well. we expect the weather event in totality to subside on friday as it starts to get out of the south half of our territory. and then at that time we'll be monitoring our more than 600 weather stations to give the all clear to our crews to patrol every inch of our assets to determine if there's damage or not so we can reenergize.
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so that's in a nutshell, and i'll turn it back to sameet. >> thank you, scott. so let's move now to a situational update in regards to the operational actions that we've been taking as a result of this potential risk that scott talked about. the first phase of our deenergization was completed this morning. about 500,000 of our customers in the sierra foothills in the north bay area experienced a deenergization between midnight and 4:00 a.m., but we have also identified in the interest of public safety to minimize the impact and disruption to our customers. we have identified limited areas where we could safely energize sections by reconfiguring our electrical system. because that part of our circuit and our system was not in a high fire threat area.
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and as a result, we've been able to bring service back to approximately 44,000 of the 500,000 customers. additionally, because the wind gusts have reduced in the northwest portion of the sierra foothills, we are actively working on determining if we can bring service back to one of our transmission lines that is a primary supply of the humbolt area. if we're able to perform this work safely this evening, which includes performing safety inspections on our transmission line to assess every inch and determine if there is any potential damage that has occurred, safely repair the damage, we will be able to bring service back to another approximately 60 to 80,000 customers this evening if we're able to do that work safely. the second phase of our shutoffs in the sierra foothills area
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started around 3:00 p.m., and it's ongoing over the next couple of hours. also as part of our second phase, we are continuing to monitor weather in the east bay, south bay, and santa cruz areas, and we will be making a decision about the timing of the deenergization later this evening because what's changed from the discussion we had yesterday is that there is a shift in the timing of the weather pattern. so we may be able to delay the start time of that deenergization. additionally, there were some questions about the impact to some of our mass transit infrastructure yesterday regarding the caldecott tunnel. we were able to provide backup generation, and that's currently in place serving the caldecott tunnel. so that should not be impacted as a result of the deenergization. in addition to that, we were
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also able to mitigate the impact to the tom lantos tunnel in the half moon bay area, because, again, we were able to reconfigure the electric supply to that tunnel and mitigate the impact as a result of the deenergization. we have als provided backup generation to two of our bart stations so that we minimize any potential impact to bart service as part of our deenergization process. in total, the second phase of the shutoff impacts approximately 250,000 customers. we anticipate the peak risk to continue through late part of tonight into early morning and forecasts of the weather subsiding around noon tomorrow. again, keep in mind it's a weather forecast, and it could be subject to change. finally, the third phase that impacts are kern county in
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regards to the tehachapi area, the scope of that phase has also been reduced significantly. so yesterday we communicated that 46,000 of our customers may be impacted in kern county. that number now has been further reduced and the impact we are currently estimating is down to 4600 customers. and we are in the process of notifying those specific customers. it's also important to remember as we shared yesterday that some of our customers may experience a power shutoff, even though weather conditions in their specific area are not extreme. and the reason this happens is because of the interconnected nature of the electrical system where the power lines work together to provide electricity across our city, counties, and regions. and as i've stated in some of my points that we just covered, we're doing our level best and
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have unwavering focus on minimizing that impact, which is why through switching operations, we're able to still continue to maintain supply to some of our customers. let's now turn to what's ahead. once the weather event passes, we can begin performing visual safety informations of every inch of our impacted distribution and transmission infrastructure. we have 45 helicopters that are ready to fly and begin the visual safety inspections as soon as the adverse weather subsides. additionally, we have 6300 on the ground personnel that are qualified and ready to conduct inspections and restoration to our customers. we want our customers to be aware that based on the large number of outages and the potential unknown in regards to the amount of damage to our
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system, we only know that as we start the visual safety inspections, it could take several days to fully restore power. after the weather passes and the safety inspections can commence. we can only perform the visual safety inspections during daylight hours, and our crews are working as safely and will be working as safely and as quickly as possible to get the power restored. we will continue the ongoing communication and engagement with all of our customers, local agency, state agencies, cities, and counties throughout the process so that everyone has the most up to date information. with that, i'd like to request our chief customer officer lori giamono to come up here and share some thoughts and insights on what we are doing to maintain the updates to our customers and our communities. lori?
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>> first of all, i want to -- [ inaudible ] >> okay. we've been listening to an update from pg&e with the very latest on the situation that's happened so far today and what the expectation is going forward. some of the things we learned right now is of 500,000 customers that lost or they de-energized power to, 44,000 have been restored with power. let's listen in. i think we can back with pg&e. >> to our customers for their patience. certainly during this outage, but especially as they've been trying to interact with us via our web pages and get information about our outages and how it's affecting them at their residence. i have good news. we have established a new
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website that we will be sharing hrough our social channels after this press conference. that new website will enable customers to see the maps of where the outages are occurring. they'll be able to put their addresses in, search their addresses. they will also get information about meet with us at our customer resource centers. so, again, we have a new website that we're standing up. we will have that website in effect through the duration of this event, and that will be the source of information for customers to check on outages in their area, their community, as well as see additional information about their specific home and location. as i mentioned on the channel, we are also going to post information about our customer resource centers. we have 28 customer resource centers stood up as of today and operating. they opened up at 8:00 a.m. we have an additional 5 that
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will be opening up tomorrow morning for a total of 33 customer resource centers that will provide water, resources for customers to talk to our employees to get information, as well as rest room facilities, cooling. they'll operate as cooling centers or heating centers as necessary, and they'll have the ability to come in and charge their devices. so those will be also posted on this new website. again, i want to you know, be very clear that we've experienced intermittent outages. we know it's been very difficult for customers. we've made available our other channels and have prioritized those customers if they're calling into our call centers, but we have a new website that will be posted and has maximum capacity so our customers will be able to interact with us and receive the information that's most important to them. and i'd like to turn it back over to keith.
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>> sameet can wrap up for us. >> thank you, laurie. i just want to reiterate our sincere apologies for the impact of not having the pg& website available. we understand and appreciate the patience of our customers, our communities, and we wanted to thank our media outlet partners because many of you in the room here have been very helpful in being able to provide some of the critical information that our customers were not able to obtain from pg& so we thank you for your partnership in the best interests and the continued interests of the safety of our customers and our communities. one final comment that i would like to address before we take questions. i want to emphasize that the safety of our employees and our contractors as well as our customers and communities is our primary responsibility. our employees and contractors are working hard to ensure our system continues to operate safely.
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the power line will be restored quickly after the weather passes. we realize and understand the impact and the hardship as a result of this decision that we've made, but our requests of our community members and our customers is to ensure that our employees and contractors, they have families that live in your communities. they have friends. they're members of your communities. so let's just ensure their safety as well as they're doing this work in the interests of your safety. so with that, he will turn it over to keith, and we can get into the q&a session. >> we're going to take these one at a time. thanks. dan, i appreciate that. we need microphones so people on the phone can hear you. i appreciate that -- i appreciate that we're going to run microphones to each of you. okay. so i believe this gentleman wanted one. we'll go to you next, dan. we'll go here first.
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we have a phone line dialed in. we have like 150 people dialed in on the phone line. >> "the wall street journal." >> hi, jim. >> thanks for that update. i'm interested in the timeline. you're talking about delays in phase two. city of san jose was talking about 8:00 p.m. can you talk about, update us on that. >> yes. thank you for that question. in terms of the delays, our teams currently and the emergency operation center are continuing to work with our meteorology team in regards to the updates to the forecast. initially, we were going to proceed with the deenergization at noon today for phase two, but we have seen that the weather pattern has shifted to later this evening, and we will be making that decision here within the next hour or two hour to proceed with that deenergization. and we anticipate that we will
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start that deenergization sequence by 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. time frame. and if we see the weather pattern continue to shift, we will do our level best to minimize that impact to our customers and communities in that area. even though we're seeing the weather pattern shift o t start time, at the moment, we're still anticipating that the weather is going to subside at noon tomorrow, again being a forecast. and if that changes to earl earlier or later, we will provide that update. >> now, then. thanks for your patience. the governor today said this is an outrage, that we're paying for years of mismanagement. to the hundreds of thousands of people who are going to be in the dark tonight, what do you say to them who think that they are suffering for your mistakes? >> i appreciate that question. i appreciate that sentiment. and we share the sentiments that have been out there in terms of the impact that this has.
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now, i can't go speaking to the mistakes of the past. what i can tell you is when we look at the climate and the environment in which our electrical assets live, operate, breathe in, it's very dynamic, and that environment has changed drastically over the last several years given the drought conditions, given the amount of dead, dying and deceased trees, given the amount of vegetation. that is ripe and ready to be a strong fuel source for a potential wildfire. so the environment that co-exists with our electrical assets has completely changed from my perspective. and the way that we need to maintain our asset, construct them, that's also changing, and that's exactly what we're doing as part of this. >> the follow-up, how far have you come along with the hardening of the wires and the high fire threat areas? because you had a marker for this year, correct? >> we did, sir. so we had a target of 150 miles, and we have completed 100 miles,
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and we are on track to complete our commitment of 150 miles this year. >> right. but you have 25,000 miles of wire in high fire threat areas. and your reports say you're having a hard time to actually do the report, and also the materials. what steps are you taking to do that much more quickly? because clearly, that's the key reason you're doing this, because you can't trust your own equipment at this point, correct? >> we would not necessarily say we can't trust our own equipment. i keep coming back to the fact that it's the co-existence of our equipment with the environment. if safety that existed in the environment naturally when the electrical systems were compromised does not exist anymore, and that's the factor of safety that we're looking to get from our own infrastructure. so we are actively, and we have put all hands on deck approach to get all qualified personnel available in our service territory. in just this year, we've brought in more than 2,000 qualified
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linemen to do the enhanced inspections, which is unprecedented. we did 18 months of work in a four-month time frame. so we're doing everything we can. we've nearly doubled the amount of vegetation qualified personnel that we have clearing vegetation in and around our electrical overhead system. we have now more than 5,000 individuals focused on that effort. >> over the past ten year -- >> christian, you're next. >> appreciate the question. you got three in a row. we'll come back -- we'll come back to you. we'll come back to you. we're going to christian. go ahead. >> ktv channel 2. i wonder if we could talk a moment we're also getting a lot of frustrated viewers who are asking if this is going toby their new normal -- >> i'm sorry. can you repeat your question? >> we're wondering we have a lot of frustrated viewers who are asking if this is going to be our new normal. what's to prevent this from happening again in two weeks, two months, perhaps even again next year. is this something people should prepare for periodic blackouts
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for days or a week at a time going forward? what's to stop that from happening? >> thank you so much for that question. and that's what's on top of our mind. and this is exactly the things that we're trying to do so that we reduce the duration and the frequency of the public safety power shutoff events, because we know the impact that it has to our customers and our communities itself. but given the amount of risk on the -- especially this time period with the fuel conditions, high wind conditions, we've seen it. we saw it last year in november. we saw it in october of 2017. so this is three years in a row, and just like we are here in the seismic part of the world, we're dealing with wildfires is the new abnormal within california. so this is something from our perspective that we all have to work together to find the right solution set for.
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and our focus is to continue to work on upgrading our infrastructure so we reduce the amount of times that we have to do the public safety power shutoff and the potential duration and the impact. >> so just to clarify, then, and then i'll pass it right back, just to clarify, customers should anticipate similar shutdowns in the future until this work is completed? >> unless the weather changes significantly and the vegetation condition and the fuel loading condition and the land and the forest management changes significantly within the state, i would say yes. >> i think what we need to understand, i think some of you hit on the earthquake part of that. people have plans for earthquakes, how to deal with them. they're prepared. they have their gopacs. they are their plan for their family. we suggest the same thing for the wildfire. we have a plan we're executing now to turn off the power. we want our customers and communities to be prepared to do the same thing. they should have a plan. we're going to go back here. >> jean elle with nbc bay area
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news. following up on this line of questioning, the new normal is climate change and wildfires. your utility in northern california. are you fortifying your utility system to be able to survive those wildfires? or is this the new normal? >> we are absolutely doing that, and that's really what i was speaking to in terms of the effort that we have. we have more than 8,000 qualified personnel working on clearing vegetation, doing enhanced inspections, doing undergrounding, overhead resiliency of the system, to really have that electric infrastructure that now naturally creates the factor of safety that the environment has taken away from the co-existence. >> a question so people on the phone can hear so we can understand the question. >> you've been listening in live to this pg&e news conference and reflecting really the mood of the community. there is some tension here as
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the questions and answers are flying back and forth with the pg&e representative. but we do know beginning at 8:00 p.m., about 90 minutes from now, what they describe as phase two of the power outages will begin, and that will include alameda, san mateo, and santa clara counties. >> one of the other things they talked about, admitting that they had an epic kind of failure with their website, which really hasn't been working, pg& to let people know what is going to happen, that they're enabling a new website where you'll be able to look at the maps, you'll be able to put your address in. but they have not revealed what that is yet. >> and we don't know that website, exactly. we will find out in the next few minutes. we're going to take a short break, listen in to that news conference more, and get you more information when we return. stay with us. pg&e is shutting off power across the bay area. get prepared with nbc bay area news, on air, online or download our app now.
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didn't see any light whatsoever. i thought i'll just go right through. >> there will be some traffic issues. there are 34 counties impacted by this event.
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>> has pg&e acted responsibly here? or are they just running scared? >> i hope this never becomes the normal. >> right now at 6:30, thousands of bay area residents in the dark, and thousands more about to be in the dark. we just heard from pg&e. if you're with us, we were playing that news conference live in san francisco. pg&e telling us this is now a statewide weather event. our diablo winds combined with santa ana winds now making this a california-wide event. so a lot of new information coming into our newsroom as well. pg&e also saying they have a new website, which they have yet to tell us the web address for. we expect to get that answer in just a few minutes. >> that's because of all the frustration and issues they've been having with the current website that no one seems to be able to get on and figure out if their house is going to be impacted next. the biggest impact of course in the north bay. much in the dark today, starting in marin, sonoma, napa county. widespread power outage also making things very dangerous on the roads because the lights aren't working. >> and remember, it's essentially a four-way stop sign
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foreall the intersections. let's bring in jodi hernandez who joins us in napa county with the very latest. jodi? >> reporter: well, folks here in napa county have been dealing with this power outage, raj, for the entire day now. we're here at the intersection of highway 29 and salvador avenue where you can see the traffic signals are out, and that is essentially turned this intersection into a four-way stop. i'll tell you, folks are very frustrated, but they're doing their best to keep their cool. >> you can put up with anything if you have good wine. >> tourists are doing their best to go with the flow tonight. >> cheers. >> as they deal with unexpected circumstances in wine country. >> it's really kind of crazy. we came up here for a couple of days of wine tasting, and had no clue about what was going to be happening. >> reporter: the lights may be out in much of the napa valley, but wineries like elizabeth spencer in rutherford have backup generators running to keep their wines cool and their operations flowing.
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>> my feeling is you need to be prepared for the unexpected. >> we evacuate for hurricanes that don't ever happen all the time. so we're kind of used to this. so we're good. >> reporter: these women are here from south carolina on a girls trip they'd planned for months. >> we had a rental home ready to go. woke up this morning to no power. so we have moved on to the local hotel here, and still no power. they're under generator. but we're okay. >> we are -- vegetables. >> in neighboring solano county, school children are reacting to a day without power too. ten schools in the school district had no power today. some held classes outside and used battery-powered lanterns to light the rest rooms. >> because we believe we can keep students safe. and in many case, safer than the situation is that students might have at home if they were at home without power.
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>> reporter: we're back here live. emergency officials just tweeted out another warning, saying to be very careful when going through railroad crossings during the power outage. the crossings very likely can malfunction. when you come to a crossing, you should come to a complete stop, look both ways, roll down your window and listen for train noises before crossing over. so a lot of things to keep in mind and think about as we continue through this power outage. reporting live in napa county, i'm jodi hernandez, nbc bay area news. >> thank you. and according to pg&e, it could be several days even after this wind event. let's take you live now to san jose, the south bay getting ready. parts of santa clara, alameda, and san mateo counties about to powers early as 90 minutes from now. and all of this really based on the wind. let's bring in our chief meteorologist jeff ranieri. and jeff, i don't want to go back and forth with pg&e here, but they said there was a forecast change in the wind, and therefore they've changed their timing of the power outages. but your forecast stayed pretty
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consistent the last 24 hours. >> that's right. we really haven't changed anything. the past couple of days we have consistently looked at the wind, if you've watched our coverage, and expecting some of those winds to build in tonight to early tomorrow morning. so that really is the main focus. so i have to say i'm not surprised actually shifting the power outages, and we could see another shift here as we learn more information tonight. i just want to reset the table after we heard some of that information on what exactly we are dealing with. to put it all in perspective for you so you know. we're all on edge here when there is any kind of fire danger. so red flag fire warning until 5:00 p.m. tomorrow for the northeast and south bay, higher elevations. 20 to 50-miles-per-hour gusts possible. the best chance in the hills. sustained winds, steady winds 10 to 20 miles per hour. again, i have not seen any large changes in that. the wind speed right now, a sustained wind 10 to 20 miles per hour. top gusts, that's all question we got. mount diablo 47 miles per hour. the next map, this is pulling
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live data of any gusts happeni right no we have a top gust of 29 in santa rosa, and 20 in fairfield. that's it so far. so we are still waiting on this wind event to get here. it's going to drive down here from the north, from the central valley of california. you can see this area in red. that's the wind like blob if you will that's going to be coming our way by 9:30 tonight. winds 20 to about 30 miles per hour. those are the gusts. but the steady wind is 10 to 20. and even look down here in san jose where your power may be cut. only 4 miles per hour. so a lot of frustration tonight as your power may be cut and you're not really getting a lot of wind. by 8:00 p.m. tomorrow, we're still seeing the gusty winds, mainly through the nth bay and the east bay. i want to be specific on that. that looks like the biggest danger of the 20 to 40-mile-per-hour winds are, and then we will see this move out once we hit the afternoon tomorrow. we'll try to get in some more updates throughout this hour, but that's what we know as we know it right now. >> a lot of information coming in right now. thank you, jeff. that's very good information.
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pg&e telling us now later tonight this will be a statewide weather event. the wind event, the diablo winds here in the bay area and down south the santa ana winds. one city in the sbai is taking action to ensure community safety when the power goes out in morgan hill, a curfew will kick in. robert handa joins us at the community center with the latest details. robert? >> reporter: that's right. the curfew is one of many measures being taken to help residents when the power goes off. for example, charging stations will be set up here at the community center so people can charge their devices, but the curfew is certainly the power outage action getting the most attention. art gonzalez, the owner of mr. falafel. when it happens, he'll close early. he admits his attitude toward the planned police curfew which will be enforced once the outage starts and go until 6:30
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wednesday morning is a little more mixed, but ultimately, he is for it. >> it's probably better off. that way you're safe. you don't know who is going to be lurking out there late night in the dark. >> you think it's a good idea? >> probably be safer that way. >> reporter: police say the word "curfew" sounds harsh, but officers aren't taking a hard line approach unless they have to. >> this curfew is to prevent folks from o people from loitering or hanging out in front of residents or businesses that have no power, you know, that have lost the ability to communicate with the police department. >> reporter: still, some people we talk to consider the curfew extreme. >> well, i think that's a little ridiculous, because people's lives need to carry on. and hopefully everyone can behave and be respectful of each other's space and time. you shoulde able to walk around, you know, even if the lights are off. >> it's our goal to exercise good judgment and contact these folks and just get them back to
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where they need to be. >> reporter: now, the community center here is on dunn avenue, police say the power outage area will be basically the neighborhoods north of here. so in about a third of the city, people will be in the dark, and anyone loitering may have to explain why they're there. live in morgan hill, robert handa, nbc bay area news. >> good to know. thank you, robert. it was iffy for a while, but the caldecott tunnel is open during this power shutoff. at one point last night caltrans said the tunnel would close but it was able to get four emergency generators up and running which will keep the lights on and the ventilation working. the double slide in san mateo county is going to stay open as well. the last minute measure raises questions about the agency's backup plan. janelle wang joins us with answers. and it's hard to believe they didn't have a plan in place already given that we live in earthquake country. >> exactly, jessica. but thank goodness for the
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backup generators during the power shutdown. because if the tunnel was shut down, that would have been a commuter nightmare. but it seems caltrans did everything in the 11th hour. so like you said, why isn't there a solid backup plan in place already? what if there was an earthquake and the power went out? well, caltrans says the cot does have a backup plan because it's hooked to a substation on each side of the tunnel, but they both draw power from the same source, pg&e. so if the alameda county side loses power, the contra costa side could lose power as well, leaving the tunnel with no electricity. now caltrans does have a backup generator at the caldecott, but it only powers the lights and security cameras, not the ventilation system, and that's nessary to get all the exhaust out of those tunnels. so that's why caltrans needed to bring in the four portable generators to keep the tunnel open during the power shutdown. a spokesperson with caltrans acknowledged the system is not perfect, but says it is working
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on a fix. >> we're bringing in a permanent -- one large permanent 3 megawatt generator that will have a lead time 12 months to be manufactured and that will be installed permanently here. >> now our investigative unit dug through federal inspections records today and discovered the department of transportation foundation with the emergency power systems last year. many of those systems were given the worst possible rating inspectors can give. the department of transportation says it can only recommend changes because mechanical systems like ventilation and backup generators are up to the state. jessica, raj? >> okay, thank you, janelle. this time last year parts of santa rosa were in flames. today santa rosa is in the dark, and it could be that way for several more days. nbc bay area's ali wolf at the intersection of mendocino and steel lane where the lights have been out all day. it has been difficult to challenging.
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it was two years ago santa rosa had the fire. but it's been challenging now with the lights out there. >> reporter: yeah, raj, definitely a very different situation out here, but still a challenge for drivers. the power is out at this intersection behind me here in santa rosa. as you can imagine, that's led to a lot of confusion for drivers and we witnessed twice that confusion turned dangerous. we saw two crashes happen at this intersection here today. and as you can see, because of that tonight, there are temporary stop signs placed out here. the dangers of driving in a power outage on display at the intersection of mendocino avenue and steel lane in santa rosa. >> it's very confusing to drivers. >> reporter: with the traffic lights out, drivers got confused, and at times they crashed. watch here as two cars entered the intersection and smashed into each other. richard dugan was the passenger in the prius which had to be towed from the intersection. >> i really didn't know what was happening until she hit us.
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>> reporter: diane snelling was driving the other car, and she got confused. >> the sun was in my rear view mirror, and i was looking at that, and didn't see any light whatsoever, and thought i'll just go right through, following the car ahead of me. >> reporter: dugan says the crash happened on his way out to lunch. he left because power is out at home. now despite the inconvenience to his life, he tells us he understands the reason pg&e cut power to hundreds of thousands of customers, because he was here during the north bay wildfires. >> that's the biggest disaster i've ever lived through. >> reporter: dealing with the power outages is proving to be tough for businesses. many put closed signs up after the power went out overnight. restaurants scrambled to save thousands of dollars in food from spoiling. >> if we want to move them, we're looking about $5,000. >> reporter: miguel flores works at panda express. he spent the morning loading food into cars, preparing for at least another night without power. and the city of santa rosa says
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there were multiple crashes at intersections that lost power throughout the day, and there were injuries in five of those crashes. reporting live in santa rosa, ali wolf, nbc bay area news. >> and now that situation with people not being able to see, car crashes and everything is going to get exponentially worse potentially because now we're going to go into the nighttime. we're going have more places with the power shut off which you anticipate with the wind is going to happen. >> it is on the way. all beit, there are going to be some locations that don't have really much wind, and your power is out. >> right. >> it's that thing that we're all kind of trying to figure out. >> we'll have more on this coming up in just a few minutes.
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well, a lot of local gas stations are simply out of gas. hardware stores are out of generators and grocery stores short on food. thousands of people across the bay area taking action. let's bring in nbc bay area's
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melissa colorado joins us from the montclair neighborhood of the oakland hills where they could be losing power in about 90 minutes from now. melissa? >> reporter: it has just been a waiting game all day long for the businesses here in the montclair neighborhood. you know, we were told at 12:00 the lights were going to go off. that did not happen. we were also told the lights will definitely go off at 8:00 p.m. and now pg&e saying that might not definitively happen starting at 8:00 p.m. but i can tell you we are here at the le bonbon candy shop, and the owners right now are giving away all of their gelato for free. >> once i woke up this morning and saw that the power is on, we're just going toe go with it. records the yuro spit never stopped spinning this afternoon after pg&e delayed the power shutoff time for alameda county to 8:00 p.m., owner lori bukas focused her energy on preserving the stacks of meat and pounds of
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veggies in the restaurant freezer. >> freezing what we can right now to take extra process. hopefully we won't lose too much. >> reporter: if she has to close her restaurant tomorrow, she predicts she'll be losing out on thousands of dollars. >> it's disconcerting that people are in a panic mode. >> reporter: row after row of empty aisles at the nearby safeway. people living in the oakland hills are heeding the call from city officials. >> we have a radio. we have batteries. we have water. we have ice. >> reporter: and loading up on the bare essentials. >> i got some extra power packs. flashlights, the whole nine yards. >> reporter: at the family-owned department store, workers rang up customers like any regular day. but if and when the power goes out tonight, the store security cameras won't be rolling. >> we have alarms. so hopefully people don't take advantage of the situation, because we're all in this together. >> reporter: and back out here
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live, we are down to the final scoop. no gelato left. all day long we have seen oakland police officers as well as oakland firefighters patrol this neighborhood just to make sure that everyone is safe and that they are ready and visible. if and so when the power goes out tonight and into the morning hours. that's the latest near the montclair neighborhood of oakland. i'm melissa colorado, nbc bay area news. >> okay, thank you, melissa. now, if your lights are still on and you're unsure whether they're going to go off in a couple of hours, we want to help you. the pg&e website has been problematic. in fact, it's been crashing. they told us a few minutes ago they have a new website, although they have not yet kbifn us the website address. >> we don't want to pile on pg&e, but we have created a map at nbc bay area that works. let's bring in chris chmura with tips how to navigate. we want to put in the address of our home and know is the power going to go out. >> let me tell you thou do that. first and foremost, here it is.
6:49 pm you can zoom around like so. you can use your fingers. if you have a touch screen or move around with your mouse and check out neighborhoods. here is what most people want to do. let me reset it. we're going to go to this box right here. a magnifying glass, type in the address, hit the enter key which i'm going to do and it takes me right to this address in santa rosa. i can see that the people on this side of the street will likely lose their power. people on that side of the street probably are not going to lose their power, so if you are in either place, let's say you're here and the power is on or over here and you're really close we would recommend you good ahead and get prepared right now, just in case th. this is a very fluid situation. this is our web team worked hard and we hope it's a useful resource for the community. back to you. >> it is helpful to see, just to punch it in. and we make it real easy for you. thank you, chris. >> and as soon as we get that pg&e website, we'll pass that along to you also. when we were listening to the
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news conference today, one of the things they talked about was the diablo winds. can you explain to us better what a diablo wind is, and why it has such a severe impact on us? >> certainly. just think about it this way. our normal wind comes from the west. so that's a cooler ocean breeze from san francisco which creates the fog. a diablo wind is coming from the exact opposite direction. so mt. diablo, named after that. so that's more off to the east. so we get these warmer winds sometimes moving right over mt. diablo. any time we get an easterly wind, it's dryer there is no ocean obviously in central california, so it's dryer air, and that fuels that fire danger. >> they coupled mt. diablo winds with santa ana winds. >> when we look at it, it's an offshore wind. so it's dry air from the inland valleys moving out to sea. it's the reverse from our normal flow. so very dry wind here across the bay area. also known as a diablo wind. let's move you into the microclimate forecast tonight, and i've also put it on this graphic as well. and it's just all about the wind direction in the bay area.
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as i mentioned, when you get a westerly wind, it's a cooler wind. when you get an easterly wind, it is warmer and dryer, moving across mt. diablo and all of our mountain ranges for that matter, and pushing that dry air right through the bay area. so what about our fire warning? this is in effect until 5:00 p.m. tomorrow. north bay, east bay, higher elevations of the south bay. we've gone over it. but what about the particulars? if you've missed this, i know all of our nerves are kind of on edge with the fire danger. you don't have power. you're watching us right now. on your phones. this is what we know as of the latest forecast. so think about this. 9:00 p.m. tonight, 10:00 a.m. thursday we're going to see those winds pick up. i think the best chance still really is in the hills, a thousand feet and above. 20 to 50-miles-per-hour gusts possible. sustained winds, steady winds to about 20 miles per hour. another perspective on this, we can follow the wind just like we follow a storm system. take a look at this green, the yellow area there. that is the wind field as we
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advance this through tonight, you see it starts to build and move closer, there you go, right there, for the main zone of the wind in the north bay and also right through the east bay. i have not seen any changes on the wind speeds. so tonight, 9:30, these are on and off wind gusts that could be 20 to about 30 miles per hour. look at the focus of the energy. st. helena, napa, diablo, vacaville, also orinda, sustained wind, 10 to 20. we'll stay with the on and off wind gusts through 8:00 tomorrow, and then a clearout tomorrow afternoon. hopefully no wildfires. we'll be in the clear and get that power back on. our forecast for the morning starts off in the 50s, mostly sunny skies here throughout the bay area. temperatures tomorrow do warm up. thankfully, though, no 90s or 100s. so without air conditioning, we should be okay in the south bay with 80 degrees. for the east bay, got you at 83 in pittsburg. 82 in walnut creek. san francisco 77 in the mission, and right here through the north
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bay, low 80s. wind calms down on friday, and we're all clear as we head through next week for san francisco. also wind calming down for the inland valleys on friday, and you got 79 there on sunday. we're back with more news and everything you need to know about this fire and pg&e power shutoffs right after the break. ♪ hey. hey. you must be steven's phone. now you can take control of your home wifi and get a notification the instant someone new joins your network... only with xfinity xfi. download the xfi app today.
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okay. time for a little update on the undefeated 49ers. another star player unfortunately is out. >> it's going to be tough. offensive lineman mike mcglinchey is out for up to six weeks following knee surgery. the team is already without pro bowl offensive lineman joe sallee. up next for the 49ers, the injury depleted 49ers play this sunday against the high-flying rams. >> they've got a good team. they don't have to make much stuff up. they're going to be rested coming. we're going to go in there. they're going to be ready to go and it's going to be a good game. >> you know, being in the pox we're in, it will be an exciting game this sunday. good opportunity for both teams. >> a heck of a game. kickoff sunday afternoon in l.a. the raiders have a bye week. >> we're going to continue to cover this throughout the evening. we'll be back at 8:00 just as the next wave of power outages
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is supposed to happen. >> thanks for joining us. we'll see you at 8:00. >> bye-bye.
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