ST. HELENA — PG&E’S Public Safety Power Shutoff began early Wednesday morning, with no estimate on when power would be restored.
The St. Helena Unified School District canceled school on Wednesday, and as of Wednesday morning, hadn’t announced whether classes would resume on Thursday. Also closed on Wednesday and Thursday were the Rianda House Senior Activity Center and the St. Helena Boys & Girls Club.
People who need information should go to the police department, which is open and staffed 24 hours a day.
At 7:15 a.m., St. Helena’s Model Bakery was selling pastries baked at its Napa production facility. Owner John Mitchell said he planned to stay open until noon.
“Hopefully we’ll be open again tomorrow (Thursday),” said manager Maria Gonzalez.
Mya Aviña of Middletown ordered four cups of coffee for her and her co-workers at St. Helena Hospital, which is running on generators.
Aviña’s own power went out overnight Tuesday, but she wasn’t worried. “I’m pretty comfortable,” she said. “I’ve had enough time to plan and get prepared.”
Charging stations were available at City Hall, the police station, Lyman Park, the library, Pacific Union College in Angwin, and Steves Hardware, which planned to open for business as usual. City Manager Mark Prestwich said the county might open a charging station at the Napa Valley College Upper Valley Campus later on Wednesday.
The St. Helena Public Works Department placed stop signs at all four signalized intersections. Traffic coming Upvalley was lighter than usual, Acting Police Chief Chris Hartley remarked, and there hadn’t been any problems in St. Helena.
Hartley planned to have extra officers on duty day and night during the outage in case there were any problems. The extra officers are using special call signs so that the city can bill the state for the overtime.
The St. Helena Fire Department has at least six firefighters stationed at the firehouse around the clock, ready to man two engines on a moment’s notice.
At Farmstead, generators were powering the cafe and the restaurant, along with a Wi-Fi connection for customers.
“We have full service today,” Christine Hall, director of human resources for Farmstead, said Wednesday. “It’s business as usual. We’ll be here all day and we hope a lot of people come.”
The St. Helena Public Library doesn’t have a generator, but even without power it will remain open from 10 a.m. until sunset, Library Director Chris Kreiden said. The library also has a solar-powered device people can use to charge their cell phones, Kreiden said.