3,000 PG&E customers still in the dark, power expected restored by midnight
Four days after a punishing atmospheric river storm knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of Bay Area residents, about 3,000 Pacific Gas & Electric customers in the region remained in the dark Saturday morning — but utility officials expected to have electricity fully restored by midnight.
Roughly 1,500 customers were without power in the South Bay, while another 1,500 on the Peninsula were still waiting for the lights to come on. That’s down from nearly 7,000 across the Bay Area Friday afternoon.
Power had been fully restored in the East Bay, North Bay and San Francisco, PG&E officials said.
At the outage’s peak on Tuesday, some 367,000 customers were without power, leaving the utility with its most outages in a single day since 1995. By noon Thursday, that number had fallen below 38,000. According to the PG&E, the storm damaged at least 217 power poles and 157 transformers.
Yet another winter storm that had been expected to careen into the Bay Area overnight Saturday is now looking like it will tack farther south, meteorologists said, leading them to downgrade the amount of rain in the forecast. Most cities around in the region will get about an inch of rain by Wednesday.
“We are expecting most of the rain to impact areas to the south of the Bay Area in the central to southern parts of California,” said Dial Hoang, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Bay Area.
Even so, Hoang warned that wind gusts up to 25 mph at lower elevations and 45 mph in the foothills and mountains could create havoc.
“Because soils are so saturated, it is a lot easier for the wind to knock down trees and power lines, so it’s really important people prepare in case they lose power,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Central Coast — where severe winter weather has hammered levees triggering devastating flooding — could also dodge the worst of the storm. About an inch of rain was expected by Wednesday, and no large waterways were forecast to hit major flood stage.
Still, Hoang encouraged residents in flood-prone areas to prepare in case they need to evacuate.
“It won’t take a lot of rain to cause issues in some of these areas,” he said.