Update 8:55 p.m. The lights continued to burn across the Coastside as the hour approached 9 p.m. San Mateo County coastal residents had been waiting all day for a planned power outage that upset the day long before any outage.
Over the dinner hour, PG&E held a press conference warning of further outages as the night dragged on. Company officials promised a new, more stable website, but it was not loading for customers and many complained about it on social media throughout the night.
Meanwhile, the CHP and the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office were promising additional patrols as locals worried primarily about traffic and help in any further emergency.
Weather experts were predicting stronger winds as the night progressed. That could increase the danger of spreading a wildfire.
San Mateo County Harbor Patrol reports it has generators and pumps should they become necessary for boaters at Pillar Point.— Half Moon Bay Review (@hmbreview) October 9, 2019
Update 3:35 p.m. The city of Half Moon Bay has two phone numbers available for anyone wanting more information on city operations through the power shutdown.
Between the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., questions concerning the city’s operations and impacts of the power shutoff may be directed to two phone numbers: 650-477-4963 (English), or 650-477-4900 (English/Spanish).
For non-emergency after-hours concerns, the public may call the San Mateo County Sheriff’s dispatch line at 650-363-4911. In an emergency, call 9-1-1.
@smcoes clarifies earlier alert. #PSPS now expected between 8 and 10 p.m. tonight. Weather is expected to ease by noon tomorrow, Oct. 10. That does not mean power would necessarily be restored by then.— Half Moon Bay Review (@hmbreview) October 9, 2019
Update 2:55 p.m.: San Mateo County Office of Emergency Services has clarified an earlier alert. They say the planned PGE shutdown is now expected between 8 and 10 p.m. tonight.
The alert was a bit confusing. The fire danger created by the weather alert is expected to ease by noon tomorrow, Thursday. That does not mean power, if cut tonight, would be restored right away. OES Director Kevin Rose said that there are 5,000 power company workers in the field in the 34 counties affected and he hopes that they will be able to restore power as quickly as possible. Officials have previously warned that power could be out for days.
Separately, Rose said officials are keeping close watch on the community resource center at 845 Main St. in Half Moon Bay after a PGE worker was shot at at a similar center in Sonoma County today. There have been no such problems on the coast.
Officials expect more information after a phone call at 5:30 p.m. today.
Update 2 p.m.: San Mateo County says the planned power shutdown is now expected to hit the coast between 8 p.m. tonight and noon tomorrow, Thursday.
The timing has changed repeatedly since the red flag warning was first issued, signaling an increased fire danger. PG&E has indicated the timing is tricky and based on ever-changing weather conditions. One of those variables is wind.
Tonight, winds on the coast are expected to gust to 28 mph and could rise above that on Thursday.
Update 1:15 p.m.: San Mateo County emergency managers say that PGE will use a low-flying silver and black helicopter (tail number 350HD) to inspect lines after they have been shutdown.
There is no timetable for re-establishing power — and it is still up on the coast — until the winds associated with the weather system alert die down.
San Mateo County Harbor District has it's own emergency alert system. It was used for the first time today. You can sign up for updates: https://t.co/C7qcaTfKRy— Half Moon Bay Review (@hmbreview) October 9, 2019
Update 12:55 p.m. PG&E just tweeted that "additional proactive shutoffs for safety will begin later this afternoon into early evening" in portions of five counties, including San Mateo County. That would appear to extend the window of shutoffs beyond 1 p.m. as previously suggested.
San Mateo County tweets that the power shutdown will affect 15,000 county residents in southern parts of the county and on the coast.
UPDATE 12:40 p.m.: Half Moon Bay City Public Works Director John Doughty is the acting city manager through the power crisis. Both City Manager Bob Nisbet and Assistant City Manager Matthew Chidester are on planned vacations.
We have triple checked the situation at the EOC. It is not open to the public during the power outage as a city councilmember previously suggested. Instead, the lobby of the adjacent Sheriff's substation will be, according to city officials. However, it is currently closed for lunch.
Despite what city councilman says, we can't get into city's EOC. No sign of water for distribution or charging station there.— Half Moon Bay Review (@hmbreview) October 9, 2019
UPDATE 12:10 p.m. Half Moon Bay City Councilman Adam Eisen emailed constituents this morning to say that citizens are able to get water and to charge their devices at the city's Emergency Operations Center next to the Ted Adcock Center until 7 a.m. tonight.
He also said the library would likely be closed this afternoon.
In case you're wondering, Coastside CERTs have not been activated as the power outage isn't seen as an emergency that requires that level of response.— Half Moon Bay Review (@hmbreview) October 9, 2019
UPDATE 11:15 a.m. Coastsiders report they have been receiving calls from PG&E, notifying them of the planned power outage in their area. CHP has tweeted that more areas will be without power between noon and 1 p.m.
Meanwhile, the U.S. post offices on the coast should remain open. Half Moon Bay Postmaster Rhobora Nuqui said the office at Stone Pine would remain open for the purchase of stamps and so forth, but that the outage would affect her ability to ship packages. She said mail would continue as planned today.
Earlier today, @CaltransD4 tweeted "four generators for Caldecott if electricity is lost. A similar alternative for the Tom Lantos." Now spokesman says no generator will be necessary at Devil's Slide and assures tunnels will remain open.— Half Moon Bay Review (@hmbreview) October 9, 2019
UPDATE 10:30 a.m. Caltrans is now assuring residents that Devil's Slide tunnels will remain open through the planned power shutdown. Now the spokesman says no generator is necessary as the tunnels will maintain power from the Pacifica side.
Caltrans spokesman Jeff Weiss says there are plans for a backup generator at some point, but that it won't be in place today.
It's not clear what, if anything, has changed since yesterday when Caltrans created something of a panic on the coast by saying the tunnels would close when PG&E shuts power to a wide swath of the region.
UPDATE 10: a.m.: San Mateo County Sheriff's Office promises additional units on the coast during the planned power outage. A sergeant told us they will be here at 11 a.m. today and pay particular attention to schools and downtown patrols.
Also: the city of Half Moon Bay has stop signs staged at traffic lights in case the signals are down for a significant period of time.
The county Office of Emergency Services says it activated its center at 7 a.m. today.
Meanwhile, the resource center — a tent behind Pasta Moon at 845 Main St. — is open.
UPDATE 9:30 a.m.: Montara Water and Sanitary District says it is concerned about the ability of some private well owners in the district to draw water during the power shutdown.
MWSD Executive Director Clemens Heldmaier said, "We will have a water fill station available for potable water pickup at our offices at 8888 Cabrillo Hwy from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. during the outage."
Coastsiders were among about 800,000 Bay Area residents waiting on Wednesday for the lights to flicker out as part of a planned power shutdown designed to lessen the risk of wildfire during an ongoing red flag warning. There was some good news as the day dawned: Caltrans was now saying the Devil’s Slide tunnels would remain open through the ordeal.
The shutdown was expected to affect parts of 34 counties and was by far the largest since PG&E announced the strategy in the wake of devastating wildfires in recent years. The power company has been implicated in sparking fires when its equipment failed.
On Tuesday, transportation officials warned that the shutdown would close the Devil’s Slide tunnels, which require PG&E power from Pacifica to power massive fans inside the tunnels. Overnight, Caltrans announced it was trucking generators to the Midcoast tunnels as well as the Caldicott tunnel and promised to keep them open.
It appeared to be a rare bright spot on the coast. PG&E has indicated it will shut down power to most of the Coastside by noon on Wednesday. It could take days to reenergize the system. Local school officials say they were told power might not be fully restored until Oct. 15.
Cabrillo and La Honda-Pescadero Unified schools plan to be open as usual. School officials suggest children be sent to classes with lunch and a jacket. La Honda Elementary will be a staging area with portable toilets and emergency crews on standby.
Officials have set Pasta Moon restaurant, 845 Main St., in Half Moon Bay, as a resource center. It will be open during daylight hours and offer restrooms, bottled water, charging stations and air conditioning.
This story will be updated throughout the day as news becomes available about the shutdown. The Review has suspended the paywall for breaking news alerts about the power shutdown so that everyone in the community has access to the latest information.