Tree limbs falling into power lines, causing massive power outages, and orchards devastated from entire tree's being ripped from the ground were both factors from previous wind events across the North State. Now, officials fear those conditions may be returning. "We are expecting outages with these strong winds. Winds are problematic for us. It can slap wires together, it can blow tree branches into wires, causing outages," according to PG&E Spokesperson Paul Moreno.
But Moreno says the power company has learned from previous events, and has made adjustments to limit issues this time around. "More automated equipment, more field switches that we can remotely operate, more sensing devices that can identify where the trouble is located, so we don't have to patrol an entire circuit looking for a problem. We can go straight to the issue."
PG&E has also increased pre-staffing, response teams, and customer communication, while making sure crews have better access to equipment.
Another concern from the strong winds is the devastating effect on almond orchards. Jeff Cripes grows walnuts, and almonds, and say's some growers should be worried. "Some of the younger, or rather older almond orchards, especially if the ground is very wet, could have some blow over. We saw that about four or five years ago, where a number of orchards took a big hit."
Cripes says that even though winds aren't expected to be as strong as 2008, farmers have to deal with tree's that are full of leaves. "Just picture a sail on a boat. They're going to catch the wind, and they're going to topple if there's not a good root structure."
That's why he says some farmers have used defoliant in the past week, to help those tree's shed their leaves. Whatever your situation, officials say you should make sure you're prepared for the severe conditions.