North Bay Under Red Flag Warning, PG&E Says Power Shutoffs Possible
The North Bay is expected to see strong winds tonight, bringing with them a risk of wildfires. A red flag warning will start at 11 PM tonight and is scheduled to expire on Wednesday at 8 AM.
Meteorologists say the mountains of Napa County and northeastern Sonoma County face the largest threat, along with elevated land from Santa Rosa to Sacramento.
The dry area is expected to see sustained winds up to 20 mph, conditions similar to the conditions which led to the Glass Fire last month. Tall peaks like Mount Tamalpais might see gusts of wind up to 40 MPH, according to meteorologists.
“We are really expecting those winds to pick up overnight,” said meteorologist Gerry Diaz. “Going into the next few days, the air mass is going to dry out and more and more, and there’s going to be this burst of winds, followed by second and third bursts later in the week.”
Diaz said the long-term forecast has led to a fire weather watch for Wednesday evening through Friday morning in areas including the North Bay mountains, East Bay hills and the Santa Cruz mountains.
“The main concern there is just really dry conditions,” said Diaz.
Temperatures are expected to increase on Tuesday, but they’re not expected to reach the same highs as recent heat waves.
“It’s going to be a very subtle warm-up over the next couple of days,” Diaz said. “It’s not going to be a huge difference in what we’re seeing (Monday). Maybe a couple of degrees.”
National Weather Service meteorologist Rick Canepa said typical October offshore winds start over western Canada, heat up as they blow over the Sierra Nevada mountains and blow dry, warm air into the Bay Area. Canepa said he expects this system to be “quite vigorous” this week, which could elevate fire risks.
PG&E is monitoring the winds, saying that power shutoffs are possible for customers in parts of the Bay Area beginning on Wednesday., especially if offshore winds strengthen.
Cal Fire has taken possession of PG&E equipment in its investigation into PG&E’s role in the ignition of the Zogg Fire. PG&E said in an SEC filing that their equipment detected an issue in the same area the fire started at around the same time the fire started.
Cal Fire is also investigating the cause of the Glass Fire. A PG&E transmission line runs through the area where the Glass Fire started.