Hottest Ticket in Town: Tours of SDG&E’s Weather Central

Hottest Ticket in Town: Tours of SDG&E’s Weather Central

In recent months, a steady stream of visitors - including policymakers and journalists – have toured our state-of-the-art Weather Center in Kearny Mesa.

Considered a role model for utilities nationwide, our Weather Center and dedicated team of meteorologists always have the pulse on how and what communities will be impacted by weather events, such as Santa Anas and heat waves.

With extreme weather conditions becoming the norm, there is more interest than ever in how electric grid operators can maintain a high level of situational awareness to mitigate risks from fires and other threats.

Two recent visitors to our Weather Center were California Assembly member Chris Holden and Senator Pat Bates. Holden and Bates are both keen to learn about partnerships we’ve built with academia, fire agencies and others to create predictive computer programs that allow us to forecast the spread of fires and pre-stage resources accordingly.

Predictive Fire Modeling

Our Weather Center is the result of nearly 10 years of continuous improvement and intense focus on understanding fire behavior, Santa Ana winds and their impacts on our electric grid operations.

The tools we use to protect our region are second to none, and we are committed to continuing to improve the measures we take to keep the public safe.

Our Arsenal of Weather Tools Includes:

  • America’s largest utility-owned network, consisting of 172 weather stations in fire-prone areas that provide readings of wind speed, humidity, and temperature every 10 minutes.
  • The Erikson Aircrane, which has the capacity to hold up to 2,650 gallons of water or fire suppressant – the equivalent of five fire engines. It can be airborne within 15 minutes, and takes only 45 seconds to refill its tank. It’s already been deployed multiple times in recent weeks to help fight fires, including the West Fire, the Pasqual Fire, and the Rock Fire.
  • The Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index, which provides a ‘rating’ system for the potential of wildfires fueled by these strong seasonal winds, like the ‘category’ system used for hurricanes.
  • The Fire Potential Index, a 7-day forecast, produced daily that classifies fire potential within each of our operating districts based on weather and fuels conditions.
  • The Wildfire Risk Reduction Model, which integrates the latest weather and Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to understand wildfire growth patterns across the region. Through the simulation of tens of millions of virtual wildfires across our service territory daily, this tool helps identify the highest risk areas and prioritize those for system upgrades
  • Alert SDG&E Cameras – a set of 15 high-definition cameras installed at mountain tops and designed to improve fire detection and public safety by creating a live-streaming view of our region’s most fire-prone areas.

Safety Remains Our No. 1 Priority

No matter what the weather conditions, protecting lives and property will always be our top priority. To learn more about our fire mitigation efforts, click here