Photo: Peter DaSilva / Peter DaSilva
Red flag alerts issued over the weekend in response to increased forest fire risks prompted Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to shut down power for tens of thousands of Northern California Customer. Here's what we know so far about the failures:
How many people are affected by the power cut?  At 4:51 pm on Monday, PG & E reported that 59,819 customers are still out of power. The failure had an impact on the inhabitants of the counties of Napa, Sonoma, El Dorado, Lake, Amador and Calaveras.
Update: Public safety shutdown remains in effect for 17k customers in North Bay and 42k in Sierra Foothills. We will continue to monitor the weather and provide updates to our affected customers in the Napa, Lake, Sonoma, Amador, El Dorado and Calaveras counties. pic.twitter.com/Wqde9cqiQj
– PG & E (@ PGE4Me) October 15, 2018
When will the force be expected to return?
Crews will continue to monitor the wind throughout the day, directing power line repairs as needed.
"It is expected that most customers will be provided tonight with some failures that may last until Tuesday," said Paul Doherty, a spokesman for PG & E. "The duration of the power restoration depends on the weather conditions and the necessary Repairs. "
Was the power cut really necessary?
The shutdown was an unprecedented step for the utility company, which had previously turned proactive in extreme fire conditions. Red flag alerts, low humidity, and the condition of dry shrubbery and vegetation on the ground all contribute to the decision to cut off lines in "extremely flammable areas."
In June, Cal Fire investigators blamed PG & E power lines for causing at least a dozen forest fires in the state, including the deadly Atlas and Nuns fires last year.
What weather conditions caused PG & E to cut off power and why is that important?
The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning on Saturday morning, effective until Monday noon. Predictions predicted gusts of up to 70 miles per hour in the ridges of the North Bay Mountains, along with daytime humidity as low as 5 percent in some areas. Every kindled fire could spread quickly.
What should I do in an emergency?
Customers in a medical emergency should contact 911. PG & E recommended that customers create a contingency plan for future failures by finding out if they are in a high-risk area and creating an emergency supply set.
Gwendolyn Wu is a San Francisco Chronicle employee writer. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @gwendolynawu