HISTORIC RED FLAG-HIGH WIND WITH POSSIBLE POWER OUTAGE
The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center has designated much of Northern California’s fire risk as “extremely critical,” the most severe level on its scale. Weather models are forecasting a dangerous combination of NE (and sometimes even full-on E) winds with extremely low relative humidity, expected to be in the single digits once the winds begin late tonight, Sunday, October 25 through Monday, October 26.
Thankfully at the time of this posting, we are blessed with damp air and no wind, but that is going to change in the middle of the night. The strongest winds will reach lower elevations than usual. This all has the potential to be a historic weather/fire danger event.
- PG&E moves to Warning status for shutoffs
- County estimated shut off times to begin between 4PM – 8PM Sunday evening; restoration estimated late Tuesday evening.
7 Community Resource Centers assigned for Sonoma County.
- Sea Ranch – Olsen Ranch House
- Sonoma – Hanna Boys Center – Indoor
- Sonoma – First Congregational Church of Sonoma
- Guerneville School
- Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building
- Cloverdale Citrus Fairgrounds
- Petaluma – The Plaza North Shopping Center
National Weather Service information:
Red Flag Warning
- Red Flag Warning in effect 11AM Sunday morning (10/25) for the North Bay Mountains – Updated to expire at 5PM Tuesday afternoon (10/27).
- Another begins at 8PM Sunday evening for the Interior Valleys and North Bay Coast – Updated to expire at 11AM Monday morning (10/26).
- TIMING…Winds will increase late Sunday morning over the North Bay Interior Mountains then peak over the region Sunday night into early Monday morning. Winds in the interior valleys and coast will increase late Sunday afternoon as winds mix down from the hills then peak Sunday night into early Monday morning.
- WINDS…North to northeast 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 60 mph for the mountains. Stronger gusts up to 70+ mph may be possible over favored ridges and peaks. For the interior valleys and coast, winds 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph.
- RELATIVE HUMIDITY…In the mountains, minimum daytime humidity of 5 to 10 percent. Maximum overnight humidity generally between 15 and 25 percent. In the valleys, minimum daytime humidity of 5 to 10 percent with maximum overnight humidity generally between 15 and 25 percent. Minimum daytime humidity of 5 to 15 percent for the coastal areas.
- HIGHEST THREAT…Highest ridges and peaks of the interior North Bay Mountains.
- IMPACTS…Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly. Outdoor burning should be avoided.
- NWS issued Wind Advisory to be in effect from 4PM SUNDAY to 11AM Monday morning
- WHAT…Northeast winds 20 to 35 mph with gusts up to 55 mph below 1000 feet. Gusts to 70 mph above 1000 feet.
- IMPACTS…Damaging winds could blow down trees and power lines. Widespread power outages are possible. Travel could be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles.
- ADDITIONAL DETAILS…In addition to fire weather concerns these winds will have the potential to bring down fire weakened trees and branches across the region. Any temporary structures such as tents and scaffolding will be compromised. This event has the potential to be as strong or stronger as winds during the 2017 Wine Country Fires with widespread potential for damaging winds throughout the Bay Area Sunday night.
- Local Proclamation of Emergency signed Saturday afternoon (10/24)
- Notification to Op Area
- Continued communication with PG&E representative
- County/Op Area EOC Activation Sunday evening at 7PM
- Mobilization of Auxiliary Communications Service (ham radio operators) for support
- No Wireless or SoCo Alert message expected to be sent
NOW is the time to be fully prepared!
For residents or guests currently in The Sea Ranch even if they decide we aren’t on the current PG&E list for a PSPS, this wind event is almost certain to down trees which will then fall on power lines.
I strongly suggest you prepare as if we were going to have a PSPS, and as if we were going to have a dangerous wind-driven fire. Better to be prepared and safe now rather than very sorry later.
Seriously, get ready!
The weather conditions are truly ominous, shaping up similar to the start of the Tubbs and Kincade fires…except it is cooler…and DRIER. The time to be on our toes is now.
- If you have a generator make sure it is fueled up and functioning.
- Make sure your cars are fueled up.
- Park your car outside facing the street tonight if you cannot open your garage door without the automatic opener,
- Sign up for SoCo Alert, Nixle, and NOAA Weather Radios
- Sign up for PG&E Notifications
- Listen and pay attention to all alerts.
- Charge all electronics: phones, laptops, rechargeable batteries. We recommend you purchase a solar charger ahead of longer power outages.
- Prepare your GO BAG. – A bag or container you can quickly grab-and-go will give you needed peace of mind. Prepare one for each member of your home, including pets, is advised. Know what you will take with you should an evacuation be ordered. I know, it is unlikely for here, even with these conditions. Still. Do it. (Don’t forget COVID stuff…masks…sanitizer…)
- Make sure you have saved on your radio dials our local radio stations are and that you can listen to them even if the power is out.
The Fire department and CAL FIRE and TSRA staff are all doing what they can do to be prepared. PG&E is setting up a “Community Resource Center ” (CRC) at Ohlson Ranch to help people do things like charge their phones if we lose power. And yes, COVID precautions fully in effect there. TSRA folks might not need that help, but Annapolis and Stewarts Point are expected to be without power.
A Red Flag Warning was issued for the North Bay Mountains and East Bay Hills valid starting on Sunday at 11 AM, lasting through 5 am Tuesday morning. Winds will intensify and become out of the north-northeast.
The strongest wind gusts are expected over the highest peaks and ridges, but these winds are expected to mix down into the valleys and reach the coastline.
Winds at lower levels are likely expected from 20-30 mph, with occasional gusts up to 50 mph.
Winds at higher elevations will be 25-40 mph, with gusts from 60 to 70 mph. These strong winds led to the issuance of a High Wind Watch for the North Bay, East Bay, San Francisco Peninsula, Bay Shorelines, Santa Cruz Mountains, and the Santa Clara Valley beginning at 4 PM Sunday afternoon lasting through Monday at 9 AM.
The North Bay Valleys, East Bay Valleys, San Francisco Peninsula, Bay Shoreline, Santa Cruz Mountains, and the Santa Clara Valley will be added to the Red Flag Warning from 8 PM Sunday evening until Monday at 11 AM.
Dry conditions make for easier fire starts and potential for the rapid spread of fire.
A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now, or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.
Please don’t create outdoor sparks or fires due to potentially strong winds and dry fuel
Sonoma and Mendocino Counties’ Current COVID status
Currently, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties’ COVID-19 status are listed as “widespread.” This means many non-essential indoor business operations are closed. For a list of those businesses see: Find the status of activities in your county
Immediate and Direct Emergency Information
- Sonoma County Sheriff’s messages (Nixle) – includes evacuation notice/road closures
- Sonoma County Emergency and Preparedness Information
- Emergency Notifications And Alerts
- Sonoma County Evacuation area map
- Current Road Closures
- Hotline~ LNU Lightning Complex: 707-967-4207
- View real-time wind map
- Sonoma County Power Shutoffs- Map
- AirQuality for Sea Ranch
While we anticipate your vacation will be trouble-free, we urge you to make sure you are prepared in case a disaster befalls the region.
Sonoma County has experienced a number of disasters over the past several years including floods, earthquakes, power shutoffs, pandemic, and wildfires. The County’s alert and warning systems have grown to notify residents and visitors of an emergency in their area early and accurately. Many alerts require individuals opt-in, below are links to sign-up and information on additional warning systems.
This information will help you be ready, stay vigilant, and BE prepared for action if required.
Sign Up for Alerts
The County of Sonoma and we strongly recommend you subscribe to the following alert and warning systems:
SoCoAlert – Upon signing up for SoCoAlert, select to receive alerts through landline calls, cell phone text messages, or pre-recorded verbal messages and email. The system also works with telephone devices for the deaf.
Learn more about SoCoAlert »
Nixle – Receive email and text messages from local fire and law enforcement agencies that include public safety messages as well as emergency information.
Text your zip code (The Sea Ranch: 95497) to 888777 to opt-in or sign up online to receive email, text or voice messages with alerts and advisories.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio – This alert system is available for purchase at a relatively low cost. When properly programmed, the National Weather Service can remotely turn on these radios and send basic alerts, including for wildfire. The message may be accompanied by a warning tone, depending on the model of radio you purchase.
Sonoma County residents may tune their NOAA radio to frequency 162.475.
If you are deaf or have hearing loss these radios have add-on equipment such as strobe lights and bed shakers. An instructional video regarding how to set up this weather radio is provided below:
For more specific and current information regarding current emergency situations for the County of Sonoma visit https://socoemergency.org/
- For information on critical Alert and Warning resources, visit Stay Informed.
- Learn about making an emergency plan
- Read more about preparing a Go Bag
- For special information regarding PG&E power shutoffs, see Preparing for Power Shutoffs
Pocket Guide: Be Ready in an Emergency (download pdf)
List your contacts, check your Go Bag, find tips for local hazards, and more. Download and print yours today!
In case of the Need for Evacuation:
Other Printable PDFs to Download Post on your Wall or Door
- Evacuation Timeline (PDF)
- Do Immediately (PDF)
- If You Have One Hour (PDF)
- If You Have More Than One Hour (PDF)
For more specific and current information regarding current emergency situations for the County of Mendocino visit: https://www.mendocinocounty.org/government/executive-office/office-of-emergency-services/emergency-notifications-and-alerts