After warning residents for days that another public safety power shut-off would affect San Mateo County’s coast, PG&E decided overnight to cancel the outage in the county, citing improved weather conditions. Data from the National Weather Service, however, indicates wind gusts up to 40 mph and sustained winds from 25 to 28 mph on Wednesday morning. Humidity over the period was a dry 8 to 13 percent.
These conditions were worse than in any of the shut-offs PG&E implemented for the Coastside this month, according to data from the National Weather Service and the National Centers for Environmental Information.
To compare, a little after 6 p.m. on Saturday, only hours before the power was turned off, sustained winds were calm at 5 mph and relative humidity was at 82 percent. During the Oct. 9 shut-off, the highest wind gusts were 28 mph with sustained wind speeds that reached 18 to 20 mph.
A press release from PG&E released at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning reads, “For the Oct. 29 (shutoff), the number of impacted counties was decreased from original estimates, as weather conditions changed and as PG&E was able to sectionalize parts of its grid to allow for greater precision in the shutoffs.” San Mateo County was removed, along with other counties. PG&E officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
Even as PG&E made the decision to scale back the outage on Tuesday, the National Weather Service’s red flag warning remained in effect for the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Peninsula. The warning notes extreme fire danger, gusty winds and low relative humidity. A frost advisory was issued for Thursday for other portions of the Bay Area.
Meteorologist David King with the National Weather Service noted that winds were starting to calm and the red flag warning would likely expire in a few hours. However, that doesn’t mean the fire risk is entirely eliminated.
“Relative humidity is 17 percent and single digits in other locations,” King said. “We haven’t had rain in the longest time and fuels are still dry.”
Also on Tuesday, PG&E announced that those affected by the Oct. 9 shut-off would receive a one-time rebate. The announcement came amid pressure from Gov. Gavin Newsom. Details about the rebates have yet to be released.
“We have carefully considered the governor’s request to provide reimbursement for our customers impacted by the Oct. 9 PSPS and we have agreed to move forward with a one-time bill credit for customers impacted by that event,” PG&E CEO and President Bill Johnson said in a prepared statement.