Update as of Tuesday at 5:15 p.m., from OES Facebook:
“According to PG&E representatives, “Due to diminished weather conditions, Humboldt County is now beneath the wind threshold for a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS).” The information we are receiving from PG&E is that Humboldt County is no longer in scope and will remain with power throughout the evening. Continue to be prepared for future outages and follow updates from the Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services (OES).
There are still communities in Humboldt who have not been restored from the previous PSPS. PG&E advises they hope to re-energize tonight.
At this time the National Weather Service does not foresee any weather patterns that would result in a PSPS event in the near future.
This release is intended to update the public on PSPS activity information provided by PG&E. This office is not able to guarantee the accuracy of the information provided and the public should consider this release as general information and be prepared for a PSPS event that may have different timing and/or duration than predicted.”
PG&E announced late Monday that it is moving forward with its third Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event, which is scheduled to begin as early as 5 a.m. in some counties.
The PSPS event scheduled for Oct. 29 is due to another potential widespread of dry, offshore winds – which can last through midday Wednesday, Oct. 30.
The shutoffs are expected to impact 596,00 customers throughout 29 counties, including parts of Humboldt County.
This time, PG&E decided to assign Humboldt County two time periods – 7 a.m. for Southern Humboldt, and 9 p.m. for Northern Humboldt.
66,447 customers in Humboldt County are scheduled to lose power. Those potentially impacted include customers in: Alton, Arcata, Bayside, Blocksburg, Blue Lake, Carlotta, Eureka, Ferndale, Fields Landing, Fortuna, Garberville, Honeydew, Hoopa, Hydesville, Kneeland, Korbel, Loleta, McKinleyville, Miranda, Myers Flat, Orick, Orleans, Petrolia, Phillipsville, Redcrest, Redway, Rio Del, Samoa, Scotia, Trinidad, Weott, Whitehorn and Willow Creek.
Why Humboldt County?
During a phone call with a PG&E representative, from the 24-hour Power Outage Information Center, a representative by the name of Will (who could not provide his full name) said that Humboldt County is affected by power outages due to the fact that the county is along the coastal areas. With wind and humidity along the coast, he said this causes humidity to suck a lot of moisture out of the vegetation, which can cause a fire.
He said the scheduled power outages are also not always based on if there’s a fire nearby but it also has to with transmission towers.
“Winds with high elevations affect transmission towers, which can cause power surges – so then we have to shut down the power strip,” he said. To avoid that from happening, Humboldt County stays under PG&E’s scope for scheduled safety power outages.
According to a press release by PG&E, there were more than 100 instances of damage and hazards on the utility’s distribution and transmission lines from wind gusts during its last PSPS event.
Editor’s note: The call made to PG&E’s 24-hour Power Outage Information Center was to confirm Humboldt County’s 10/29 PSPS time schedule but the representative went ahead and answered a question regarding the reason why Humboldt County is affected.