What a mess. More than 1 million people in California were without power Thursday, and the number might grow to 2 million before all is said and done. It's all part of a controversial move by PG&E to cut power in more than 30 counties as a safety precaution—authorities are worried that high winds could bring down live power lines and trigger wildfires. The first wave of shutoffs to 800,000 customers—and each "customer" might affect multiple people in a house or apartment—began Wednesday morning in Northern California, reports the AP. A second, smaller wave took place Wednesday night in the San Francisco Bay area. (See map at SFGate.) Details and coverage:
- Perspective: "It was an extraordinary moment for California," writes Thomas Fuller at the New York Times. "In the state that brought the world the iPhone and the internet as most people know it, residents fumbled for flashlights, hauled jerrycans of gasoline and read instructions on how to manually open their automatic garage doors. In the fifth-largest economy in the world, hundreds of thousands of people were forced off the grid."