The Coastside was coping without power on Sunday afternoon and preparing for a second night in the dark. PG&E shut off power to 57,218 San Mateo County customers — including virtually all of them from Pacifica south to the Santa Cruz County line — to ease the risk of catastrophic wildfires like the one tearing through Sonoma County.
Most on the Coastside experienced the power outage moments after 8 p.m. on Saturday. The planned outage was delayed for several hours, PG&E said, because the extraordinary winds in the forecast were slow to arrive. But heavy winds finally blew through overnight. PG&E has indicated it expects to begin re-energizing the coastal lines on Monday morning. That process could take hours or as long as five days, depending on the estimate.
Without power, other infrastructure flickered. Coastside users reported problems with Comcast and Verizon services. And traffic was heavy through the Midcoast due to inoperable traffic signals.
There was some confusion over PG&E Resource Centers on the coast. Originally, PG&E listed two such centers — with power strips, water and other essentials — in San Mateo County. They were to be at the La Honda Fire Brigade headquarters, 8945 La Honda Road, and at Sea Bowl in Pacifica. However, on Sunday, the power company only listed the La Honda location as being up and running.
Meanwhile, the city of Half Moon Bay expected PG&E to set up another center at the Half Moon Bay Library. That never materialized. In its place, the city opened the doors to the Ted Adcock Community Center on Sunday. It offers similar services to local residents. City officials say it will be open until 8 p.m. tonight. It was not immediately clear whether the center would be open to the public on Monday.
The Red Flag Warning indicating extreme fire danger remains in place for most of the region. The National Weather Service reported wind gusts in La Honda of 33 mph in the noon hour and noted that gusty winds will ebb and flow over the next 24 hours. Temperatures were set to cool rapidly overnight, into the 40s and 50s, but dry weather will remain and leave the entire region susceptible to wildfire.
That was more than evident from events in the North Bay. At mid-day, wind gusts of 70 mph had been reported in the higher elevations affected by the massive Kincaid Fire in Sonoma County. More than 180,000 people were under mandatory evacuation orders and the fire had burned 30,000 acres. It was 10 percent contained as of 9 a.m. on Sunday.
It was hardly the only problem for California firefighters, who battled fronts from Los Angeles to Sacramento. Interstate 80 was closed in two places on Sunday due to separate fires. Also on Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency as a result of the wind and fires.
An earlier blaze dubbed the Cabrillo Fire, near Gazos Creek Road and Highway 1, was finally labeled fully contained on Sunday morning. CalFire said that fire ultimately burned 62 acres.