UPDATE, Oct. 9, 6:36 p.m.: With strong winds yet to kick up as of Wednesday evening, PG&E was able to restore power to 44,000 customers in the North Bay and Sierra foothills. The utility said it was still monitoring weather conditions for the East Bay and South Bay and hadn't yet decided the timing of shut-offs in those areas. Read the latest here.

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After days of warning, Pacific Gas & Electric confirmed Tuesday afternoon that 800,000 customers across 34 California counties would be left in the dark starting at midnight.

The utility planned the shutoff as a precaution due to "unprecedented wildfire risk," the company said in a Tuesday night press conference.

"The power will be turned off to communities in stages, depending on local timing of the severe wind conditions, beginning with counties in the northern part of the state," PG&E said in a statement.

PG&E said it would communicate with affected customers directly via automated calls, texts and emails. It also created a map of affected areas, which you can check for your neighborhood. PG&E's site was intermittently down Tuesday, so we've put some of the maps in the gallery at the top of this story.

PG&E said the shutoffs would begin just after midnight early Wednesday morning. PG&E meteorologists forecast high winds to last until midday Thursday, but power could be out for several days longer.

"Before restoring power, PG&E must inspect its equipment for damage and make any necessary repairs. That process cannot begin until the severe weather event has subsided," the company said.

The outages could last "five days or longer" in some areas.

"It's also important to remember that some of our customers may experience a power shutoff even though the weather conditions in their specific location are not extreme," said Sumeet Singh, PG&E vice president of the Community Wildfire Safety Program in a Tuesday night press conference.

"The reason why this happens is because of the inter-connected nature of our electrical grid and the power lines working together to provide electricity through cities, counties and regions. We're working directly with state and local agencies to help prepare our customers and the public for this safety event," he added.

ALSO: Map shows neighborhoods impacted by PG&E power shutoffs

The weather this week is expected to be dry and windy, which makes the risk of a catastrophic wildfire high, PG&E officials said. The utility company wants to shut off power so its electric equipment doesn't start a wildfire as has happened in recent years. Singh stressed that the shutoff is only implemented as a "last resort."

The number of potential customers affected in each Bay Area county, according to PG&E, is:

  • 32,613 customers in Alameda County
  • 40,219 customers in Contra Costa County
  • 66,289 customers in Sonoma County
  • 32,124 customers in Napa County
  • 14,766 customers in San Mateo County
  • 38,123 customers in Santa Clara County
  • 32,862 customers in Solano County
  • 9,855 customers in Marin County

San Francisco County was not expected to be affected.

The blue areas on this map show where PG&E has planned outages for Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019.

Starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday, PG&E said it would open community centers to provide restrooms, bottled water, electronics charging stations, and air conditioning during daylight hours. See the locations below:

Alameda

Oakland: Merritt College LOT B – Leona St., Oakland 94508

Amador

Pioneer: Mace Meadows Golf Course, 26570 Fairway Drive Pioneer 95666

Butte

Oroville: Bird Street School, 1421 Bird St, Oroville 95965
Magalia 14144 Lakeridge Court, Magalia 95954

Calaveras

Arnold: Meadowmont Shopping Center – 2182 HWY 4, Arnold 95223

Colusa

Glenn: Williams, Orland 839 Newville Road, Orland 95963

Contra Costa

San Ramon: Bishop Ranch Parking Lot – 2600 Camino Ramon, San Ramon 94583

El Dorado

El Dorado Hills: Rolling Hills Christian Church 800 White Rock Road, El Dorado Hills 95762

Placerville: El Dorado Fairgrounds 100 Placerville Drive, Placerville 95667

Lake

Clear Lake: Clearlake Senior Center 3245 Bowers Avenue, Clearlake 95422

Mariposa

Coulterville: Coulterville Fire Dept – 10293 Ferry Road, Coulterville 95311

Mendocino

Ukiah: 1775 N. State Street, Ukiah 95482

Napa

Calistoga: Calistoga Fairgrounds – 1601 N. Oak Calistoga 94515

Nevada
Grass Valley: Sierra College Grass Valley 250 Sierra College Drive, Grass Valley 95945

Placer

Auburn: Gold Country Fairgrounds 1273 High Street Auburn 95603

Plumas

La Porte: 2140 Main St. La Porte 95981

Santa Clara

San Jose: Avaya Stadium 1123 Coleman Avenue, San Jose 95110

San Mateo

Half Moon Bay: Pasta Moon Restaurant, 845 Main St Half Moon Bay 94019

Santa Cruz

Aptos: Twin Lakes Church 2701 Cabrillo College Dr, Aptos 95003

Shasta, Tehama

Redding, Cottonwood, Red Bluff: Shasta College, 11555 Old Oregon Trail Redding 96003

Sierra

Sierra City : Loganville Campground parking lot – HWY 49, Sierra City 96125

Solano

Vacaville: Mission Church 6391 Leisure Town Road, Vacaville 95687
Vallejo: 1001 Fairgrounds Drive, Vallejo 94589

Sonoma

Santa Rosa, Sonoma: Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building 1351 Maple Ave, Santa
Rosa 95404

Stanislaus

Westley: Westley Hotel – 8615 CA-33, Westley 95387

Tuolumne

Sonora: Mother Lode Fairgrounds 220 Southgate Drive, Sonora 95370

Yolo

Winters: Next to PG&E Gas Academy – Intersection of E. Grant Avenue & Timber Crest Road, Winters 95694

Yuba

Oregon House: 9185 Marysville Road, Oregon House 95962

This story is developing and will be updated.

Alix Martichoux is an SFGate digital editor. Read her latest stories and send her news tips at [email protected]