Emergency

Monday, October 28, 2019

County: All of Humboldt Will Lose Power Early Tomorrow Morning

Posted By on Mon, Oct 28, 2019 at 5:03 PM

The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services just issued an alert warning that all PG&E customers in Humboldt County will lose power before early tomorrow morning and should be prepared to be without electricity for several days.

The outage comes as extreme weather conditions are set to tighten fire risks in Humboldt and surrounding counties, causing "dangerous conditions for power transmission lines."

A press release from the county indicates the extreme weather period is expected to begin at 6 a.m. tomorrow and power will cut several hours prior. The weather is expected to subside sometime Wednesday afternoon, after which PG&E will have to inspect lines before turning the power back on, a process that could take days.

The alert notes all the information is provided by PG&E and is subject to change, adding that local temperatures are forecast to dip into the 30s tonight. OES states this will be the last alert of the day as officials prepare for the looming outage.

The Humboldt County Office of Education, meanwhile, has updated its list of school closures, which can be found here.

Those who currently have power restored are urged to make the most of this brief respite by charging electronic devices, refueling their cars and restocking their supplies.

From OES:


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Some Power Restored as Another Blackout Looms

Posted By on Mon, Oct 28, 2019 at 11:25 AM

PG&E is in the process of inspecting lines in an effort to bring power back to Humboldt County this morning, with some areas already having been restored as another Public Safety Power Shutoff looms before dawn tomorrow.

According to the Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services, PG&E is hoping to restore power to all local customers in advance of the next weather event that will bring elevated fire conditions and another blackout. That weather event is expected to begin at 6 a.m. tomorrow, with PG&E currently planning to cut power in Humboldt County around 4:30 a.m. But OES warns that these times are estimates and locals should prepare to lose power any time tonight.

The Eureka Municipal Auditorium, crowded with people charging their electronics this morning, with a line extending out the door. - LYNN LEISHMAN
  • Lynn Leishman
  • The Eureka Municipal Auditorium, crowded with people charging their electronics this morning, with a line extending out the door.
That is, if they even get it back before the next blackout. While PG&E is working to restore power, it's unknown if it will get power to all 60,000 or so local customers before the next shutdown, which could last into Thursday or beyond.

For those who do see power return, OES is advising that they use the brief window of electricity to recharge electrical devices, re-stock supplies, refuel vehicles and generally prepare to again be without electricity for some days.

Public safety agencies, meanwhile, report that things have been generally calm since PG&E cut power to Humboldt County beginning around 10:30 p.m. Saturday, though there have been some reported generator thefts.

Eureka Police Chief Steve Watson said three generators have been confirmed stolen in the city since Saturday night — two from the backs of trucks and one from the backyard of a residence during the night. Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal similarly said his office has received reports of generator thefts. Both urged folks to make sure their generators are locked down, secured and not left out overnight.

"Also, people have been complaining about generator noise," Honsal said in a text message to the Journal. "But there's not much we can do about that right now."

This seems a good opportunity to remind folks that OES is asking that folks refrain from calling 911 unless they are experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening emergency.

OES also advises that folks with disabilities or who are dependent on electricity to power life-sustaining medical equipment can call or text Tri-County Independent Living at (833) 866-8444 for assistance. Anisa Escobedo, the organization's outreach coordinator, told the Journal it has received approximately 250 calls through the outage and has been helping connect patients in need of electricity to power oxygen tanks and CPAP machines with local hotels that have power.

A host of community resource centers and electronic device charging stations have been set up throughout the county, as well, and you can find a full list in OES post that is copied below. Reports indicate that people looking to charge up should be prepared to wait, as some centers have long lines.

Blue Lake Rancheria, meanwhile, reports that it still has fuel, ice and supplies, though it is limiting fuel purchases to $50 and ice to two bags per customer. Check its Facebook page for continued updates.

See the full OES release copied below:


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Sunday, October 27, 2019

'All Clear' Given to Begin Checking HumCo Power Lines as Another Blackout Looms Tuesday

Posted By on Sun, Oct 27, 2019 at 2:45 PM

The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services is reporting that PG&E has indicated that portions of Humboldt County have received the “all clear,” meaning weather conditions no longer pose an elevated fire risk, allowing the company to being inspecting its lines in an effort to restore power, a process that could still take some days.

PG&E has not, however, indicated which portions of the county have been deemed all clear.

The company has also warned that another weather event with elevated fire risks is forecast to hit early Tuesday morning and stretch into Thursday, which may result in another shutdown. OES warns that this means even if local PG&E customers see power restored in the coming days, it may be cut again a short time later.

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Saturday, October 26, 2019

Update: Power Out, Restoration Estimates Remain Unchanged

Posted By on Sat, Oct 26, 2019 at 7:17 PM

UPDATE:
According to the Humboldt Office of Emergency Services, power started going out in Humboldt around 9:30 last night. Restoration estimates remain the same. PG&E expects weather conditions to improve by 4 p.m. today, after which it will have to inspect lines before restoring power, which could take several days. See past coverage for information about charging stations, open stores and meal services.

PREVIOUSLY:
The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services just issued an alert notifying residents that PG&E is now estimating the power in Humboldt County will shut off between 9 and 11 p.m. tonight, but warns these are estimates based on weather patterns and could change.

The office further reports that the company is now estimating it will get a weather "all clear" around 4 p.m. on Sunday but that doesn't mean the power will flicker back on then. Rather, the company will then be cleared to begin inspecting lines and repairing any damage prior to turning the power back on. OES warns this process could take 48 daylight hours — or roughly four days — meaning that even if the weather calms by tomorrow afternoon, power may not be restored to all Humboldt County customers until Thursday.

The bottom line is this remains a very fluid event contingent on weather conditions — with outage and restoration time estimates having changed repeatedly throughout the day — and customers should continue to prepare for the outage to begin at any time and to be without power for some days.

Here's the latest from OES:

PG&E now estimates the Public Safety Power Shutoff will occur sometime between 9:00 pm and 11:00 pm tonight. Again, these times are estimates given the ever-changing nature of the weather event. These delays in the power shut off are in part because PG&E is trying to limit the time that customers are impacted. The estimation for the weather “All clear” is on Sunday, 10-27-2019 at 4:00 pm. This weather “All clear” time is NOT when the power will come back on. The weather “All clear” time is the time when PG&E personnel can begin inspecting the lines. It can take up to 48 daylight hours from the weather “All clear” time until power is restored because any damage found during the inspection will need to be repaired prior to power restoration.
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As Blackout Looms, Arcata Nonprofit Preps Free Meal Services, Seeks Volunteers and Donations

Posted By on Sat, Oct 26, 2019 at 3:54 PM

With PG&E’s public safety blackout looming, Arcata House Partnership is again planning to provide a free meal services during the shutoff and is asking for volunteers and donations to aid the effort.

While estimates as to when the shutoff will start continue to fluctuate — PG&E has offered differing estimates throughout the day with the latest coming at 2:41 p.m. and advising the power will go down at 8 p.m. (local officials, meanwhile, warn residents should be prepared to lose power at any time — Arcata House is readying to kick into gear tomorrow.

The barren shelves at Eureka's WalMart on the eve of the last blackout. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • The barren shelves at Eureka's WalMart on the eve of the last blackout.
See the press release copied below for details but the nonprofit is looking for volunteers, as well as donations of food and ice, and plans to provide free meals from noon to 6 p.m. at the Arcata Annex (501 Ninth St.) and the Arcata Community Center (312 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway). It will also deliver meals to various locations in town throughout the day.

For more information on how to receive food assistance or on how to help support the effort, see the release copied below.

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UPDATE: Blackout Could Hit Humboldt Hours Earlier Than Expected, Sheriff Warns to Prepare to Lose Power at Any Time

Posted By on Sat, Oct 26, 2019 at 11:20 AM

UPDATE:
In the company’s latest press release, PG&E is notifying the public that power will be shut off to more than 900,000 customers across 36 California counties in phases this afternoon. And the list of scheduled phases indicates power may be cut in Humboldt County earlier than the company is reporting.

PG&E has repeatedly told county officials and residents that the shutoff will begin locally at 5 p.m., and that’s represented in the phases in the company’s recent press release. However, the release also states that Shasta County will see its power cut at 2 p.m. Because the two lines transmitting electricity into Humboldt County originate in Shasta County — which PG&E and local officials have identified as the reason the entirety of Humboldt County will lose power in this blackout even though only certain portions are forecast to be at elevated fire risks — it seems Humboldt County may lose power at the same time Shasta County does, which would be three hours earlier than anticipated.

The historic Arcata Minor Theater bathed in moonlight beneath the stars during the PG&E power shutoff. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • The historic Arcata Minor Theater bathed in moonlight beneath the stars during the PG&E power shutoff.
The Journal has reached out to local and PG&E officials about this, but most have not responded. Sheriff William Honsal said in a text message to the Journal that he’s unsure, saying PG&E hasn’t been “organized” with the flow of information and that estimated shutoff times have repeatedly changed even though weather forecasts have not.

“Right now they are telling us 5 p.m. but if they are cutting the 299 line and the 36 line at 2 p.m. then we will lose power then,” he texted. “We are relying on a company that has been anything but consistent with its information. The red flag warning begins at 6 p.m. tonight in the north state. Humboldt County should be prepared to lose power any time this afternoon.”

We’ll update this post with additional information if and when we get it. But until then, it seems wise for Humboldt County to prepare to go dark a few hours earlier than expected.

See the latest press release from PG&E copied below our original post.


PREVIOUSLY:
The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services announced this morning that a host of charging stations and community centers will open throughout the county after the start of the PG&E blackout that’s expected to begin at 5 p.m. today and stretch at least several days.

In a press release, the office is urging residents to be as prepared as possible, and not delay in charging their devices and stocking up on supplies. Additionally, the office warns the county is forecast to see some cold temperatures, so residents should plan accordingly.

The duration of the outage, the office warns, will be entirely managed by PG&E.

See the full press release, which includes the locations and schedules of charging and community centers, copied below:

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26 Year Old Killed in Alderpoint Road Crash

Posted By on Sat, Oct 26, 2019 at 7:11 AM

The California Highway Patrol is investigating a fatal single vehicle big rig crash on Alderpoint Road yesterday afternoon.

According to CHP, a 2019 Freight Liner was heading eastbound on Alderpoint Road, east of Wallin Road, when for reasons still under investigation it drifted off the south roadway edge and down a steep embankment. The 26-year-old driver was ejected from the cab and died at the scene.

It's unknown if drugs or alcohol were factors in the crash, which remains under investigation.

See the full press release from CHP:


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Friday, October 25, 2019

Finding Groceries When the Lights go Out

Posted By on Fri, Oct 25, 2019 at 9:05 PM

UPDATE: Costco will be up and running on generators, as will Walmart and Target.

Ferndale's Valley Grocery plans to stay open with the generator running.

Just like during the last blackout, Iłwai kiliwh market in Hoopa will be open and running on a generator.

CC Market in Rio Dell will not only be open during the outage but still has ice.

PREVIOUSLY: Once again, a planned PG&E power outage has local markets hooking up generators, hunting for diesel, shuttling their inventory into locked freezers and unloading perishables. Here's a working list of which ones will be open when the lights go out on Saturday. (Not sure what you need? Check your pantry against this list of recommended supplies.)

While the Eureka WinCo Foods shut down for the last blackout, Director of Corporate Communications Noah Fleisher said over the phone, “Winco will be open and able to serve the community during the blackout.” An extra generator will keep the stock cold and the lights and registers on.
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  • File


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Where to Get Medical Supplies, Charge Devices During the Blackout

Posted By and on Fri, Oct 25, 2019 at 3:30 PM

With Humboldt County’s impending blackout looming, the county Office of Emergency Services is urging residents to stock up on enough medical supplies to last at least a few days and officials are scurrying to set up medical device charging stations throughout the county.

The entirety of Humboldt County is expected to lose power Saturday afternoon and officials say the fire warnings that prompted it could last until Monday afternoon, after which it could take several days for PG&E to inspect and re-energize the lines. During the blackout on Oct. 8 and Oct. 9, medical providers said acquiring needed oxygen would have become a real problem for people on breathing aides had the outage extended beyond 28 hours. As it was, six people were hospitalized with breathing issues, including one who rapidly decompensated and had to be flown out of the area for further treatment.


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Alert: Humboldt Will Lose Power, Possibly for Four Days

Posted By on Fri, Oct 25, 2019 at 12:44 PM

The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services has issued a countywide alert warning that all PG&E customers in the county will lose power early tomorrow afternoon due to the Public Safety Power Shutoff being enacted in the face of severe fire conditions in portions of Humboldt County and surrounding areas.

The office is urging residents to plan for an outage of up to four days, as the extreme weather conditions are expected to last through Monday and it may take some time after that to inspect lines and get electric servce restored to all customers.

When PG&E offers additional information about the outage or restoration estimates, the Sheriff’s Office will pass it on to the public. The alert reminds residents that 911 should only be used for life-threatening emergencies and urges residents to check on family and neighbors with medical needs.

See the full alert copied below and see our earlier post here for preparedness tips.

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