Update 9:45 a.m. Friday, Oct. 23: With winds subsiding across Northern California, PG&E said it's in the process of restoring power to tens of thousands of customers in seven counties who had their lights turned off as part of the utility's latest pre-emptive wildfire-safety blackouts.
The number of customers and geographic extent of the shutoffs, which began Wednesday night, was reduced from the originally forecast 54,000 customers in 19 counties because high winds were neither as widespread or as persistent as first forecast. The utility says those affected should have power back by late Friday night.
The outages were focused mostly on three counties: Shasta, where more than 18,000 customers had lights turned off; Butte, with a little more than 10,000 customers were affected; and Tehama, with about 1,600 customers de-energized. A handful of outages were scattered across Plumas, Glenn, Colusa and Yolo counties.
The focus for PG&E and its customers now turns to yet another episode of gusty and potentially dangerous winds expected to arrive Sunday evening. Forecasts from the National Weather Service suggest the next wind event will be much stronger and impact a much wider area of California than recent wind events.
PG&E has already announced there's an "elevated" risk of power shutoffs Sunday through Tuesday that could affect parts of eight of the utility's nine geographic zones.
Update, 6:10 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21: PG&E has confirmed it will turn out the lights for 37,000 Northern California customers as windy red-flag fire conditions resume across the region.
The outages are scheduled to begin later Wednesday night for about 18,000 customers in Shasta County, at the northern end of the Sacramento Valley. The utility said it plans to shut off power to about 10,000 customers in neighboring Butte County after midnight.