PG&E charging station

Social distancing guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19 were enforced Monday in the Sierra Building at Mother Lode Fairgrounds, where a charging station was set up by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. for as many as 30 people on Monday.

Most businesses and residences in downtown Sonora remained without electricity as of 3 p.m. Monday in spite of a weather all-clear declaration for the Sonora area before 12 p.m. Some residents who live near downtown Sonora received text notifications Monday afternoon that their power could be restored by 5 p.m. Monday.

Before 3 p.m., a few businesses appeared to have electric power and traffic lights at South Washington Street and Stockton Street appeared to be working properly. The sound of gas-driven generators was still audible on South Green Street at 3 p.m. Some residents of northeast Sonora received notifications that their power was restored before 3 p.m.

Some residences near Adventist Health Sonora got electricity back before 1 p.m. Monday.

While Pacific Gas and Electric Co. crews patrolled power lines in the Sonora area Monday and prepared to restore electricity in parts of Tuolumne County, a charging station set up by the utility at Mother Lodes Fairgrounds filled up to a maximum of 30 people by 12 p.m.

 

UPDATE 11:30 a.m. 

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. staff have issued an all-clear weather declaration for the Sonora area as of 11:25 a.m. Monday. When power would be restored remained unclear, with power line checks and restoration procedures under way.

“At this point Sonora has been given the weather all clear,”  Brandi Merlo with PG&E marketing and communications said before 11:30 a.m. Monday. “Still waiting on the other areas. Crews have begun patrolling the lines and will repair any damages found. After a section is cleared the power will be restored.”

Some Sonora area PG&E customers received texts before 12 p.m. saying their power could be restored by 2 p.m. Monday.

The current imposed outages that started Sunday afternoon due to winds and fire danger concerns were impacting about 355,000 PG&E electricity customers in 34 counties.

 

Original post 11 a.m.

With about 355,000 electricity customers on imposed outages and light winds in some areas, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. staff are expected to issue all-clear weather declarations for some communities as early as Monday morning, a spokesperson for the utility said before 9:30 a.m.

In the Mother Lode, there were more than 45,000 PG&E customers without power as of 9:20 a.m. The totals for each county were 30,327 customers in Tuolumne and 15,694 customers in Calaveras.

Maximum wind gusts in both counties overnight ranged from 19 miles per hour in the Columbia-Sonora area to 33 mph in the Angels Camp and San Andreas areas, Sierra Littlefield, a National Weather Service meteorologist based in Sacramento, said in a phone interview.

“PG&E is expected to issue the weather ‘all-clear’ in most locations for this PSPS event in stages beginning Monday morning through Tuesday evening,” Brandi Merlo with PG&E marketing and communications said Monday morning. “We are still waiting to hear from our meteorology team on wind speeds.”

When PG&E staff declare all-clear in some locations, that is when power line patrols and power restoration procedures can begin. 

“It looks like the winds have calmed down quite a bit this morning,” Littlefield said. “There are still windy spots. We are expecting some more breezy conditions this evening after sundown, but not as strong as last night, overnight Sunday into Monday.”

The Angels Camp area had its highest wind gusts before midnight Sunday and sunrise this morning, with the strongest of 33 mph at 10:50 p.m. The strongest winds for San Andreas were also 33 mph, recorded 11 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., Littlefield said.

Twain Harte had its strongest winds between 8:50 p.m. Sunday and 1:40 a.m Monday., with gusts to 23 mph. Groveland had gusts to 27 mph at 12:45 a.m. Monday, Littlefield said. In addition, wind gusts of 40 mph were recorded in the Mountain Ranch area at 12:20 a.m. Monday, and 27 mph at 9:20 a.m. Monday, Littlefield said.

Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.net or 770-0405. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.

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