Updated 5:15 p.m. Shortly before 4 p.m., Coastsiders began to give sporadic reports that electricity was back on in El Granada and Montara. By 4:30 p.m., it appeared to be on for most of the coast. That good news could be only temporary as PG&E said late in the day that it was going forward with another massive shutdown beginning on Tuesday.
A power company press release said a high wind event would cause it to shut down power for 605,000 people in 29 counties, beginning Tuesday morning in the Sierra Foothills. The outages would begin to roll through the Bay Area "very early Wednesday," PGE said. At this writing, there was no indication of what portions of San Mateo County would be affected, but the wind warning from meteorologists calls out the peninsula coast and the Santa Cruz Mountains.
The weather is due to improve by mid-day on Wednesday.
It was an unusual Monday morning, as many stores remained closed. People attempted to go about their workdays as best they could, and traffic crawled along Highway 1 as drivers made do without signaled lights.
When PG&E decided not to open a community resource center on the coast, the city of Half Moon Bay stepped up to open its own at the Ted Adcock Community Center. People from along the Coastside used the center from the minute it opened, thankful for free coffee and pastries from Starbucks provided by city staff. Others used the WiFi provided through hotspots from the library to work on their laptops.
"It's very Half Moon Bay," Deputy City Manager Matthew Chidester said. "We're just pulling everybody together."
For most students on the Coastside, school operated as scheduled. Teachers at Farallone View Elementary School used light from the windows and camping lanterns to illuminate their classrooms.
“The kids are good in these situations, but of course things are a bit different,” said Sandy Myers, administrative assistant. The school’s breakfast and lunch program continued as normal, but offerings were slightly different. Food Service Assistant Karla Bullene said the milk had gone bad in the refrigerator and needed to be discarded, as well as everything left in the freezer and refrigerator.
The school district’s food distributor delivered breakfast, which included fresh fruit, juice and a muffin top, and lunch was a cold sandwich.
“They are being good natured about it,” Bullene said. “Everybody is learning to adapt.”
Wilkinson School was the only school that was not open today. Administrators cited the power outage and poor air quality as the reason. It’s not clear whether the school will be open on Tuesday, but all public schools on the coast as well as Sea Crest School in Half Moon Bay are set to open on Tuesday as well.
Those in search of a caffeine fix to start their morning were found at Spangler’s Market in El Granada. Owner Daniel Spangler purchased a generator in preparation for the shut-offs so the store could remain open. Spangler also owns a deli in Half Moon Bay, which was not open, but he was able to bring over extra coffee and pots to brew enough to meet the demand in El Granada.
“We were pillaged on Sunday because everyone was home waiting out the outage,” he said. “We made over 500 sandwiches that day.”
By mid-day, several more restaurants and stores were able to open with limited selections and they relied on cash-based exchanges.
Coastside County Water District services have not been disrupted by the shut-off. The Sewer Authority Mid-coastside has generators and still plans to have its board meeting at 7 p.m. tonight.
The scene was tranquil at Pillar Point Harbor this morning.
“We have back up generators to answer phone calls and use our emergency radio,” Assistant Deputy Harbor Master Dante Madrigal said. “And every boat (in the patrol) has a generator. So far so good, no issues.”
The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning from Tuesday at 1 p.m. to Wednesday at 4 p.m. The coast could experience winds from 5 to 15 mph and gusts up to 40 mph.
Residents on the coast noted faint smells of smoke, however, the air quality index for the Coastside is within a healthy range.
In response to the continued outages, Gov. Gavin Newsom launched a resource website that has information about road closures, evacuation center, fire updates and more. Visit: response.ca.gov.