Re­gion braces for high winds, heat

San Francisco Chronicle - - BAY AREA - By Vanessa Arre­dondo Vanessa Arre­dondo is a San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle staff writer. Email: vanessa.arre­dondo@ sfchron­i­ Twit­ter: @v_anana

A po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous mix­ture of sear­ing tem­per­a­tures and dry, pow­er­ful winds is ex­pected to de­scend on North­ern Cal­i­for­nia this week­end, bring­ing a height­ened risk of fire dan­ger with them.

Pa­cific Gas & Elec­tric Co. said Wed­nes­day that it may pre­emp­tively cut power to some cus­tomers in the north­ern Sierra and the Sacra­mento Val­ley re­gion to pre­vent dam­aged equip­ment from spark­ing fires.

Af­ter a stretch of mild con­di­tions, tem­per­a­tures are ex­pected to climb to the low 100s in some parts of the Bay Area this week­end, with north winds that could gust at up to 60 mph late Satur­day or early Sun­day.

The Na­tional Weather Ser­vice is­sued a fire weather watch for the North and East Bay hills that be­gins Satur­day at 11 a.m., con­tin­u­ing through Mon­day at 8 a.m. The fire weather watch is also in ef­fect for in­te­rior val­leys in the East Bay and for ar­eas along High­way 4 that are sus­cep­ti­ble to dry north winds.

Na­tional Weather Ser­vice me­te­o­rol­o­gist Ryan Wal­brun said a com­bi­na­tion of dry and off­shore winds over the North and East Bay hills, low hu­mid­ity, and con­tin­ued hot tem­per­a­tures make dry re­gions more sus­cep­ti­ble to wild­fires.

The Bay Area will ex­pe­ri­ence warmer tem­per­a­tures this week­end with tem­per­a­tures in the lower 90s on the coast and in the lower 100s in­land, Wal­brun said. Fair­field will ex­pe­ri­ence high tem­per­a­tures through­out the week­end, reach­ing a high of 101 on Mon­day. In Wal­nut Creek, tem­per­a­tures are ex­pected to reach 100 on Mon­day, with week­end tem­per­a­tures in the low 90s.

Strong winds in high­el­e­va­tion ar­eas such as Mount Di­ablo will peak Satur­day night into Sun­day morn­ing with gusts reach­ing 50 to 55 mph. In the East Bay hills, at el­e­va­tions be­tween 1,000 and 1,500 feet, winds will reach 25 to 35 mph from Satur­day into Sun­day morn­ing.

Wind di­rec­tion may change on Satur­day and Sun­day, and po­ten­tially bring smoke from the Au­gust and North Com­plex fires back to the North Bay this week­end, Wal­brun said.

Fire weather watches are is­sued ahead of time when con­di­tions look fa­vor­able for wild­fires, Wal­brun said. He ex­pects the event to up­grade to a red­flag warn­ing this week­end.

PG&E un­veiled new “Watch and Warn­ing” no­ti­fi­ca­tions Tues­day that may pro­vide res­i­dents with a warn­ing two days and up to four hours be­fore a po­ten­tial power shut­down and in­for­ma­tion about when it will be re­stored. The alerts come af­ter cus­tomers com­plained that they were not given suf­fi­cient time in the past to pre­pare for these shut­offs.

“Right now is the time to go through your emer­gency check­list, charge your de­vices and ask your­self what would you do if a fire started and you needed to evac­u­ate your home in short or­der,” Wal­brun said.

Gabrielle Lurie / The Chron­i­cle

Swel­ter­ing tem­per­a­tures and pow­er­ful winds may bring a height­ened risk of fire dan­ger this week­end.

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