Power being cut to 800,000 California customers to help prevent wildfires

first_imgmilehightraveler/iStock(SAN FRANCISCO) — Pacific Gas and Electric has begun cutting power to more than 800,000 of its California customers in an unusual move to prevent wildfires while its service area is buffeted by severe winds. The raging winds, referred to as “Diablo winds,” will be coming from the northeast with gusts as high as 55 mph.The utility’s decision to curb electricity supplies proactively comes nearly a year after the “Camp Fire,” the deadliest fire in state history, killed 86 people and destroyed nearly 20,000 structures in Butte County.PG&E officials said early Wednesday morning that they had begin shutting off power to approximately 513,000 customers in the areas of Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo and Yuba.An additional 234,00 customer were due to have their power cut around noon Wednesday in the areas of Alameda, Alpine, Contra Costa, Mariposa, San Joaquin, San Mateo and Santa Clara. At that point officials said they would consider a third phase of cuts affecting approximately 42,000 customers in locations to be determined.“The safety of our customers and the communities we serve is our most important responsibility, which is why PG&E has decided to turn power off to customers during this widespread, severe wind event,” Michael Lewis, PG&E’s senior vice president of Electric Operations, said in a statement. “We understand the effects this event will have on our customers and appreciate the public’s patience as we do what is necessary to keep our communities safe and reduce the risk of wildfire.”The Diablo winds, similar to the “Santa Ana winds” in Southern California, develop due to higher pressure over Nevada and lower pressure over the central California coast, according to the National Weather Service. The agency also has issued red flag warnings across much of Northern California.PG&E warned many of its customers they should expect to be without power early Wednesday morning through Friday morning, as weather models show the winds may be the strongest the area has seen in nearly two years.Southern California may be facing a similar situation, according to Southern California Edison, that region’s utility.Counties currently under watch include Kern, San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles.San Francisco’s BART commuter rail system told riders it doesn’t expect a disruption in service, adding that it’s been working closely with PG&E for the past several months to prepare for a planned outage. BART said its train operations have the “flexibility to pull power from other sections of our traction power supply system to replace power … and critical systems such as tunnel fans are also protected by a combination of installed and portable generators.”PG&E said it will continually update customers through calls, texts and emails, as well as via social media and wider media reports.Customers have been encouraged to stockpile a week’s worth of food and water and have plenty of batteries to keep electronics fully charged.Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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19 Spring flash, fizzle

first_imgVolume XXXNumber 1Page 19 “It happens every year,” said Gary Wade, an Extension Servicehorticulturist with the University of Georgia College ofAgricultural and Environmental Sciences. “People will go on abuying frenzy and buy anything and everything in bloom.”Trying to buy out the garden center on a single visit isn’t allbad.”Spring is the best time of the year to buy spring-bloomingplants,” Wade said. “You can see the plants in bloom and tell ifthey’re the colors you have in mind. It assures that you getplants of the same variety — plants have been known to be taggedwrong.”DownsideSpring buying sprees have drawbacks, though. The first is howquickly the color fades after you get home.”What people don’t always realize,” Wade said, “is that when youbuy that plant and take it home in its peak of color, within aweek or so those blooms will be gone. You won’t have color untilnext year.”Planting them can shock them and further shorten their display,he said. You can stretch the blooms out a few more days if youjust put them where you want them, still in their containers, andkeep them watered until the blooms drop. Then plant them.One of the biggest drawbacks to one-day spree-buying is that whenyou buy many kinds of plants in their peak of bloom, you canexpect them to all bloom together next year and for years to come.”What you wind up with is a real splash of color that lasts aweek or two, but a somewhat drab landscape for the rest of thespring,” Wade said.Lasting springA better idea, he said, is to simply spread out your landscapepurchases. “Visit the garden center once a month during thespring to buy plants that bloom at different times,” he said.Nurseries and garden centers know you’re going to do that. Theybet the business on it every spring. And they’re going to keepplants in a peak of color for as long as they can. One way theydo that is with different varieties.”Azaleas are available in three types, in terms of their time ofbloom: early, midseason and late,” he said. “Early-bloomingvarieties usually bloom around April 1-15 in central Georgia,give or take a week in north or south Georgia.”Expect midseason varieties to bloom from mid-April to mid-Mayand late-season varieties to bloom after mid-May,” he said.”Buying and planting varieties from each of these categories willextend the color show. Good gardening books usually listvarieties according to their time of bloom.”Spring-flowering bulbs such as tulips and daffodils are the sameway, he said. “They come in early, midseason and late-seasonvarieties,” he said. “Buying the right varieties can extend theircolor several weeks.”(Dan Rahn is a news editor with the University of GeorgiaCollege of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.) By Dan RahnUniversity of GeorgiaThe normal way of buying flowering plants tends to producelandscapes with three stages every spring: a glorious flash, afizzle and wait-till-next-year.last_img read more

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