The Woodside district fire marshal is warning Portola Valley and Woodside residents to prepare themselves and their households for a fire danger-related power shutoff that is expected to begin at noon today and last up to five days.
Fire Marshal Denise Enea of the Woodside Fire Protection District issued an alert last night stating that PG&E plans to cut power to most of Portola Valley and Woodside and many of the coastal communities midday.
"Power will not be restored until the extreme fire weather event is over and PG&E is able to conduct a visual inspection of the power lines," she wrote. "Power restoration can be anywhere from 36 hours up to 5 days."
Residents should be prepared for disruption in phone and internet service.
"Cell service and internet will potentially be spotty or non-existent in your neighborhood depending if your cell or internet carrier has backup power at their towers," Enea wrote."Only land-line telephones with 'POTS' (plain old telephone lines), that do not need an electrical outlet, may work. It is likely that many residents will not be able to receive SMC Alert messages because of cell and internet outages. The PG&E power shutdown timeline also corresponds with a 'red flag' extreme fire weather event."
Enea urges residents to prepare in advance "for medical needs, i.e. devices that need power or medication that needs refrigeration. Identify backup charging methods for phones and keep hard copies of emergency numbers available.
"Build or restock your emergency kit with flashlights, fresh batteries, and other battery lighting. Have nonperishable food available and some cash. Learn how to manually operate your garage door and any automatic gate.
"Do not use portable generators inside or near windows.
"Portola Valley will update its emergency AM broadcast station 1680 as new information becomes available from PG&E. P&E.com can also be a main source for information updates," Enea said.
Both Portola Valley and Woodside town halls have backup generators and places to go if people need water and to charge devices, town officials said.
The Roberts markets in both towns are going to stay open and have backup generators, according to Parker Scott, manager of Roberts Market in Woodside.
Earlier this week, the National Weather Service called a "Fire Weather Watch" beginning Tuesday night and lasting through Thursday. The alert was prompted by predicted severe and dry offshore winds during that period. Forecasters say it's likely to be the strongest offshore wind event of the 2019 fire season.
Rick Radin contributed to this report.