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tv   KPIX 5 News at 7pm  CBS  October 8, 2019 7:00pm-7:30pm PDT

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extreme fire danger could leave almost 800,000 pg&e customers in 34 counties in the dark. for the bay area, nearly 280,000 people have been warned. >> this is something that we do. >> frustrated because we're not getting the right information. >> reporter: look at the staggering numbers in each of the eight bay area counties, tens of thousands of people making last minute preparations. or the possibility of five or more days with no electricity. the frustration is building. >> maybe five to seven days. >> then i'll need more gas. >> the idea of five days without electricity is devastating. >> reporter: what will happen if the power is cut for the first time ever in an urban area like
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oakland or san jose? >> all sworn officers' days off are canceled. >> those of you who live in the hills where we know there's challenges with challenges and ingress for first responders. >> what officials are telling you to do with your car, if you live at the highest risk areas. it could be too late if you haven't already purchased items. >> you'll be disappointed, unfortunately. >> kpix news at 7:00 starts now. and we have a survival guide for you to these public safety good evening. i'm ken bastida. >> i'm veronica de la cruz. the countdown is on. less than five hours away from the first stage of these power cuts. but do keep in mind, if your lights are still on after midnight, there's still a chance they could go dark later overnight and into
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tomorrow. >> a special pg&e website that shows if your home is affected has been down. it's crashed all day long. mary lee was able to log on earlier. >> the timing of all of this, the first counties impacted will be napa and sonoma at midnight. and parts of alameda county just after midnight. lights will go out in marin county by 4:00 am. and then contra costa county just after midnight. >> breaking news for you. caltrans is preparing for full closures of the tom lantos tunnel, the devil's slide tunnel, full. they cannot run without electricity to rub their fire-suppression systems. the closures could begin as soon as this evening and last as long as five days. >> our crews have been all over the bay area today, hearing emotional stories as anger, frustration, fear, even panic. >> i have asthma. and so does my
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maurt. so sometimes we get episodes that we can't breathe. so we need to plug in the machines to breathe at night. >> reporter: things are ramping up in pg&e's emergency operations center. meteorologists are closely monitoring wind speeds, direction. while fire officials conifer over high-risk areas and timing. >> this is something that we do not take lightly. we understand how important electricity is to our customers and to the community broadly speaking. however, the safety of our customers, and the communities that we serve is our most important responsibility. >> reporter: the shutdowns will happen in phases, pg&e says. the phase-out will begin with the northern counties like napa and sonoma. the southern counties
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follow. the severe weather conditions dictate. they won't be more specific than that. >> we are looking at various components to make o decision. and that includes things like wind speed, wind gifts. dry weather. fuel that may be a concern. >> reporter: marin county should be shutting down by 4:00 this morning. as for other county, that will be determined based on the weather. >> daren joining me now. this is all predicated on these winds. >> yep. >> and these winds will be howling through the evening. >> i'm gonna playis ahead to tomorrow morning. 9:00 am. look at the bright oranges and reds through the north bay area.
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in androd napa county. that's where it starts. that's why nap is one of the locations here where the power is going off first from pg&e. as far as the weather aspect of this is concerned, look at the rest of the communities throughout the bay area. we're not noticing much in wind at all. but the real concern sheer up in the hills. and it's really gonna be wednesday night into thursday morning. it's really thursday morning early, the predawn hours of thursday, where this is now a bay area wide wind event. and even though the wind speeds say 34 for napa, 36 in santa rosa, those are gusts through town. the gusts are gonna be hitting 55 to 60 in the higher elkayings of those nerth bay hills, and that's the real problem. by thursday in the afternoon, the winds will have started to relax.
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pg&e's control overpower outages is something different. but the big concern is that day and a half, wednesday morning through thursday evening. back over to you. >> we appreciate it. thank you. as contra costa county scrambles to prepare for these outages, the residents have a little bit more time. pg&e will be flipping the switch at noon andrea borba is live in concord for us with how people there are planning ahead. andrea? >> reporter: veronica, take a look behind me. the lines have not gotten any less intense here at the costco off monument boulevard, for gas, even though the reprieve is upon us for this part of contra costa county. the lines for gas in concord before the power goes out and the pumps
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were rendered useless were long. >> i'm gonna have to fill up my other work van or i won't be able to work tomorrow. now looks like i may not be working tomorrow anyway. >> reporter: and people were planning ahead, while the cost of a gallon was ticking away. >> if the power goes out, for the next day and a half, all the food's cold and we've got a comfortable place to live. >> reporter: some were trying to figure out how to save stored food. >> i have two refrigerators. >> that's a lot. >> yeah. that's a lot to throw away. >> reporter: in oakland, city leaders were worried abouto power. but also the very real possibility of wildfires with the horrors of the 1991 oakland hills firestorm still fresh despite the decades that have passed. >> for those of you that live in the hill where is we know there's challenges with access and egress for first responders and other members of the community, we ask that you park offstreet in your driveways.
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>> reporter: days off have been canceled for the oakland police department with all officers on duty as powers pull by pg&e. >> we are prepared to keep this city safe. the chief said every single officer has had his or her time off canceled. we are fully staffed to keep this city running well. and i can say from personal experiences of living my entire life in oakland that times like this are often when our community shows their best side. >> reporter: earlier today, some folks in line told us the lines reminded them of the 1970s. and they have continued out here for hours at this point. some cools are potentially going to close tomorrow in oakland. ten schools could lose power. make sure you're checking with your child's school district to see if they may not have a classroom to go to. andrea borba, xibs 5. you're in the right spot to get the latest.
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kpix 5. you're in the right spot to get the latest. >> our freps, our neighbors and our friends, our neighbors and our communities. we want to provide you with some insights on what we're forecasting in regards to the weather conditions. as well as the associated fire risk in a large park of the geographic territory, in the sierra foothills area, north bay, east bay, and a small pocket within the current bakersfield area. and we'll get into the specifics. we're not the only ones who are tracking this adverse weather condition. this has also been published by the national weather service, which we will also be discussing.
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and our teams continue to monitor this weather. and we have had in that monitoring stage for the last several days. and since then, we have activated our emergency operations center at pg&e. and we're staffing and have continued to staff that 24/7 the reason why we're here is because of the widespread scale of this wind event. we're anticipating a public safety power shutoff to nearly 800,000 customers across portions of 34 northern, central, and co counties. before i talk a little bit morebout that, i would like to request evan duffey, who is one of our lead meteorologists, to walk you through some of the weather and the wind forecast of the adverse conditions that we're gonna be
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experiencing. >> i'm senior meteorologist here at pg&e. i'd like to talk a little bit here about the weather and how we've monitored it over the past two days. the models have been very consistent in showing a very strong offshore wind event beginning tonight and lasting for parts of the territory through friday. these strong, dry gusty winds are going to be combined with low relative humidity levels. it will lead to some dangerous fire weather. fuels are critically dry across the territory. and most of the area is looking at very receptive conditions for large fire drills. i would like to work through the forecast for the territory. this is 10:00 am on wednesday. and it'll go hourly and show the progression of the event. you can see that already by 10:00 am wednesday, we'll have strong northerly
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winds across the sacramento valley, working into portions of central california. into the afternoon on wednesday, you can see those winds will strengthen and slowly begin to shift northeasterly into the evening hours. you'll see a change where the strongest winds will be located. now in the sierra and also in the north bay. as we move on throughout the overnight hours, we will see some shift in these winds as well further south. and you'll see some stronger winds developing in the bay area proper outside the north bay as well. overwhelm these winds will continue into thursday. and we'll see at times these winds remain gust and he breezy all the way through friday morning. they're also off the edge of this map. another area of reverse santa ana winds in kern and bakersfield area, coming tough tehachapi. and this area will also be critical for fire weather for those areas as
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well. the national weather service has issued extensive red flag warnings in the northern california geographic area coordination center. considers this a high-risk situation. by all metrics, this is forecasted to be the strongest offshore wind event since october, 2017. conditions being forecast historically have led to catastrophic wildfires. and pg&e meter meteorology is actively monitoring the weather for this situation round-the-clock. >> thank you, evan. based on the latest weather forecast that evan just shared, we anticipate the period of the peak winds will occur beginning early wednesday morning and will last through thursday, midday. as evan just walked us through the
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wind forecast models. on the screen. in addition, we are also actively monitoring the reverse effect of the potential santa ana wind events in the tehachapi area. and that could impact our customers in the bakersfield and the kern county area. and that's anticipated at the moment as early as thursday, lasting to friday morning. it's also important to tharm some of our customers may experience a power shutoff even though the weather conditions in their specific location are not extreme. and the reason why this happens is because of the inner connected nature of our electrical grid. and the power lines working together to provide electricity to the cities, countie
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regions. we're working directly with state and local agencies to help prepare our customers and the public for the safety event. as part of our emergency operations center, we follow the incident command structure. and as part of that sfwhent command structure, w also have representatives from our california state emer centers. cal oes. the state fire department, as well as members of our california public utility commission. within our emergency center. we want our customers to be aware that based on the large number of outages. it could take several days to fully restore power after the weather passes and the safety inspections can begin. the first step that we take as part of restoration after such an adverse event is
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to inspect every inch of our overhead ridiculous electrical asset base to identify damage. if there is damage, what that is, bring in qualified personnel to be able to safely do the repairs and continue with the restoration process. we very much understand the inconvenience and difficulty such a power outage would cause. and we do not take or make this decision lightly. this decision is very focused on ensuring that we're continuing to maintain the safety of our customers and our communities.
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we implement the public safety shutoff as a last resort. and we appreciate our customers' continued patience as we continue to work hand-in-hand, in unison, as one community to face this unprecedented wildfire risk that our state and our service territory is facing related to wildfire wildfires. with that, i'm gonna ask steve to join me back up here to move into the q&a portion. >> thank you, ever if you have a question, we'll get a mic-runner to you. can michelle come over here? we'll go from there.
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>> fires are gonna be impacted, is the website up and running and available to people? and also information in what the shutoff will begin. >> so you want to do the second part first? >> yeah, let me dot second one. we anticipate that the shutoffs would begin starting at midnight. up until about 4:00 am. and that's gonna be a portion of the 800,000 customers. that's about 500,000 customers. then there's another deactivation sequence that we would initiate at noon tomorrow to last until about 1 sfochlz or 5:00 pm. so it's basica 1,700 or 5:00 pm. so given the complexity of the reenergize sequence, we are carefully
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monitoring and implementing every single step to ensure the continued integrity of the grid as we are doing this. that's really what we anticipate for the events from early wednesday to midday thursday. and then the sequence for kern county would likely start to occur tomorrow evening. >> in regards to the website, we know there's been some issues with that. this morning and this afternoon. we did take the precaution yesterday to double the size of our database to be able to accept all of the people that were coming to the website. we still have had very slow response on the website. and we've got about seven or eight times the normal traffic to our website. and we apologize for that. we've also taken information and post today it on our social channels. we just posted 34 different maps for each county on twitter. we're using a number of different channels to reach out to folks. so please check our twitter
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handle,@pg& d we're making sure the website is addressed and will be available with that information. judy? >> are you nrpgzing any high transmission lines? how many people could be affected, not just the customer count? >> thank you for that question, jd. we are deenergizing some of our larger transmission lines up to 115 kv. and also the lower volt an 60 and 70 kv. and at the moment, i do not have the specific 99 of people. what we have been publicizing saturday number of customers per county, based on the premiseses that we
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have registered within our customer database. >> in the middle, blue jacket. >> for can you address people who feel like they have been through an affected move, and wondering if this is the only way this their to cut down on fire risks? >> thank you for that question. this is not the only way. and we have had a multipronged approach that we have implemented for the last several years to remove additional vegetation in and around the proximity of our overhead lines, which tend to be a significant threat, especially during these high wind periods where vegetation can come in contact with our overhead lines and subsequently start an ignition, an associated wildfire. we also have done enhanced inspections. we are
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working on for the hardening of our system, doing targeted undergrounding, making our overhead system more resilient. but given the widespread nature of this wind event and the significant impact that it's gonna have on the communities or geographic footprint, and the potential electrical overhead assets, this is the measure of last resort. and given the extreme nature of what is being forecasted, we think this is the appropriate approach from a risk-reduction perspective. to again ensure the continued safety of our customers and communities. >> and a second question regarding the the tunnel, specifically. can you confirm whether they are going to be shut down, and talk about the impact on travel.. >> thank you for that, that is
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something we are actively working on. with others to identify opportunities for us to provide potential backup generation to those facilities so that we minimize the impact. i don't have the answer at the moment definitively for you if that's going to be an affected outcome. but we're actively engaged, working with the entities in involved so we can identify and mitigate that issue. >> so there's no doubt they will be shut down at this point? >> we know they will be impacted. but we're trying to do everything we can, working to see if we can provide bip generation so we can continue to maintain service. and that's the piece that we are still working to develop a solution on. >> are you surprised by how how many people are being affected?
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>> thank you for that question. the widespread nature of the event my perspective, the widespread nature of what we're seeing in terms of the various aspects of our service territories being involved. when you look at our service territory, nearly most of our counties are involved in this. from the sierra foothills all the way down to the east bay hills. so given the extreme nature of this event, we have been working internally and forecasting kind of what we call a high-stress scenario. which is comparable to the october 2017. and what we're seeing is that this is very similar in nature. but it does have a broader footprint, especially when you look at the east bay. >> we know the bay area and all of california that we do have high fire danger weather. pg&e has been planning for this for years. so why isn't pg&e better
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prepared for things like more backup generators for the tunnels? or other businesses that have spent hundreds and thousands of dollars trying to meet these demands? so people are checking into hotels or losing their groceries. this is costing a lot of people a lot of money. >> yes. understood. and we completely understand the impact it has on community, on customers. and for the trend the last couple of years, we've been actively engaged with the communities, the customers, proactively messaging that something like this could happen to raise their awareness, to be prepared. it's no different than the fact that we live in a seismically active part of the world with earthquakes. and that preparedness. and now we're also facing this devastating threat of wildfires as a result of climate change as well. we're offering up and implementing customer resource cen there's of them that we're gonna be setting up. 28 as early as
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8:00 am tomorrow morning which will provide air, air conditioning, restrooms, charging services to our customers and our community. so we have been actively working with the communities with the counties on all of those elements of engagement. >> are there things that you want to do differently for the next forecasted power outage? >> at the moment, i appreciate that question, our focus is on this event to continue to ensure the safety of our customer communities. and as we're continuing to go through this, i am sure we're gonna be getting a lot of feedback from a lot of our stakeholders. and we always remain open and fully embrace the gift of feedback so we can continue to improve upon everything that we're trying to do here. southern california edison and san diego gas and electric have also activated their emergency
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centers. given the widespread nature of what they may be experiencing from a northeast wind event phenomenon, known as the santa ana winds in southern california. you need a microphone. >> i think you're next. and then we're gonna come over here. and then we'll go to the middle. >> communities like calistoga, they've lived there forever, the winds have been coming offshore forever. what happened in the last few years that's driven these massive events? is there climate change? or what's going on? >> we have to remember that california recently went through a pretty serious drought. and that definitely changed the landscape in quite a few ways. the magnitude of the last one
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was pretty impressive. there are other ecological issues. the amount of trey-kill up in the sierra is pretty substantial. so there's a lot of things going into -- >> all right, you've been watching this live news conference from pg&e headquarters. new details on the weather and these public power outages that will start around midnight. >> our power outage survival guide is online for you right now at there are all kinds of resources and information. we'll be updating it on live. and we'll be back on the air with you at 11:00 pm with the latest. at at&t we believe in access. the opportunity for everyone to explore a digital world. connecting with the things that matter most. and because nothing keeps us more connected than the internet. we've created access from at&t california households with at least one resident who receives snap or ssi benefits. may qualify for home internet
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