PG&E Mobilizing for Powerful Winter Storm Arriving in Northern and Central California Today


High Winds, Rain and Low-Elevation Snow Forecasted

OAKLAND, Calif., Feb. 21, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is mobilizing personnel ahead of a significant cold and windy winter storm that will arrive in coastal areas this afternoon and move across much of Northern and Central California Wednesday and into Thursday, bringing with it snow fall as low as 500 to 1,000 feet in some areas.

The incoming adverse weather could result in trees, limbs and other debris falling into powerlines, damaging equipment and interrupting electric service.

"We encourage customers to prepare for the storm now," said Angie Gibson, vice president, PG&E Emergency Preparedness & Response. "Have an emergency plan in case you lose power and update your contact information on PG&E's website so we can provide you with real-time updates on outages in your neighborhood."

Poised to respond to outages are PG&E electric crews, troublemen, distribution line technicians and system inspectors who serve as the utility's first responders, along with personnel who will monitor electric incidents for public safety.

In addition, PG&E has opened its Emergency Operations Center and local operations emergency centers in impacted regions to more efficiently allocate crews, materials and other resources to restoration efforts.  

The company is using its storm outage prediction models that help determine the potential timing, location, and number of power outages. The models allow the company to have extra crews on standby to deploy to areas hard hit by the storm. PG&E is also prestaging power poles, powerlines, transformers, and other electric equipment at yards throughout its service area to restore power to affected areas safely and as quickly as possible.

Predictions for Incoming Weather

This cold front is expected bring wind gusts of 40-55 mph along the coast and in portions of the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys with other areas seeing winds around 30-40 mph. Winds are forecasted to dissipate across the interior late tonight and Wednesday morning.

Precipitation is forecasted for today as showers will accompany the winds in Humboldt and the Sierra Nevada crest. Snow levels will rapidly drop into Wednesday morning and may be as low as 500 feet, perhaps even reaching the ocean in localized spots in the north. In the Sierra, snow levels could be as low as 1,000-2,000 feet through Thursday before lifting slightly in the south on Friday.

Snow accumulations late tonight into tomorrow morning in Humboldt will be significant. Snowfall will range from a coating in spots at sea level, increasing to 4-6 inches at 1,000 feet and up to a foot in the higher terrain of Humboldt north. This storm could bring snow loading on tree species not accustomed to snowfall, resulting in trees falling and branches breaking and impacting power lines.

More significant moisture wraps around the storm system Thursday into Friday, focused on the north coast on Thursday and shifting to the interior and the south on Friday. Snow will continue in the southern Sierra on Saturday during the morning hours before exiting in the afternoon.

A weak system may bring some rain and snow showers to the north on Sunday with another system pushing through the territory next Monday and Tuesday.

Based on the current forecast, this storm won't have the same impact as the historic series of atmospheric river storms that hit Northern and Central California in late December and early January. In that storm, more than 7,200 PG&E, contract and mutual-aid personnel were on duty, working to restore power to more than 2.8 million customers. More than 95% of those customers had their power restored in 24 hours or less.

Keeping Customers Informed

Customers can view real-time outage information at PG&E's online outage center and search by a specific address, by city or by county. This site has been updated to include support in 16 languages.

Additionally, customers can sign up for outage notifications by text, email, or phone. PG&E will let customers know the cause of an outage, when crews are on their way, the estimated restoration time and when power has been restored.

Storm Safety Tips

  • Never touch downed wires: If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and extremely dangerous. Do not touch or try to move it—and keep children and animals away. Report downed power lines immediately by calling 9-1-1 and then PG&E at 1-800-743-5002.
  • Use generators safely: Customers with standby electric generators should ensure they are properly installed by a licensed electrician in a well-ventilated area. Improperly installed generators pose a significant danger to customers, as well as crews working on powerlines. If using portable generators, be sure they are in a well-ventilated area.
  • Use flashlights, not candles: During a power outage, use battery-operated flashlights and not candles, due to the risk of fire. And keep extra batteries on hand. If you must use candles, please keep them away from drapes, lampshades, animals and small children. Do not leave candles unattended.
  • Have a backup phone: If you have a telephone system that requires electricity to work, such as a cordless phone or answering machine, plan to have a standard telephone or cellular phone ready as a backup. Having a portable charging device helps to keep your cell phone running.
  • Have fresh drinking water and ice: Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator/freezer to prevent food spoilage.
  • Turn off appliances: If you experience an outage, unplug or turn off all electrical appliances to avoid overloading circuits and to prevent fire hazards when power is restored. Simply leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns.
  • Safely clean up: After the storm has passed, be sure to safely clean up. Never touch downed wires and always call 8-1-1 or visit at least two full business days before digging to have all underground utilities safely marked.

Other tips can be found at: Safety and Preparedness, Storm Safety, and Safety Action Center.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is a combined natural gas and electric utility serving more than 16 million people across 70,000 square miles in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit and


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