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PG&E prepared for possible power outages from storm in Sierra

PG&E prepared for potential Sierra power outages during severe snow storm
PG&E prepared for potential Sierra power outages during severe snow storm 02:45

NEVADA COUNTY - The possibility of Northern California power outages is high this weekend with a severe storm hitting the Sierra.

PG&E spokesperson Paul Moreno said the areas most at risk are Nevada, El Dorado and Placer counties. 

"It takes longer to work under those conditions, but we do persevere," said Moreno. "Our crews will be working 16-hour days until the last customer is restored." 

Moreno showed CBS13 the snowcats it has ready to plow the roads to access power poles in case an outage occurs. 

"There are times if the storm brings extremely heavy winds and the trees are falling over randomly, then we have to pull back for safety," Moreno said. 

Preparation this weekend for PG&E looks like extra crews and materials, but Moreno said they really have been preparing for storms like this to happen year-round.

"We prune trees near powerlines," he said. "We upgrade or replace equipment that needs replacing." 

Residents living in Nevada County are no strangers to stocking up for snowstorms in the Sierra. 

"We both work together. We both split wood. We both stack it up and he helps me bring it in our house because we're in our 80s," said Terie Molina who lives in Nevada City. 

Molina works with her next-door neighbor to prepare for the weather and said the snow piled onto roofs and toppled trees last year. 

"Last year, we lost 13 trees between both of us," Molina said. "They just split in half because they were top heavy." 

Now, this weekend is expected to be the hardest-hitting storm of the season. 

"We are responsible for plowing 236 miles of road throughout Nevada County, both eastern and western sides," said John Beasy, the road services manager for Nevada County.

He said they are ready to plow every route, every 12 hours with its road graters. 

"Residents need to be ready to go without light, heat and telecommunications for at least 72 hours," said Paul Cummings with the Nevada County Office of Emergency Services. 

Cummings said they are working closely with Truckee's Office of Emergency Services to respond to the storms and have warming shelters ready for folks. 

"Get some firewood ready, check your propane levels, check your generator," said Cummings. "This is probably the coldest, snowiest storm we've seen all winter." 

He also advises people to call the Nevada County Building Department if they think their roof may be at risk with all the snow load.
"I feel confident that we're all ready," Cummings said.

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