Millions playing waiting game over electricity shutoffs

Shift supervisor James Quinn walks through a darkened CVS Pharmacy as downtown Sonoma, Calif., remains without power on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019. Pacific Gas and Electric has cut power to more than half a million customers in Northern California hopinThe Associated Press
Shift supervisor James Quinn walks through a darkened CVS Pharmacy as downtown Sonoma, Calif., remains without power on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019. Pacific Gas and Electric has cut power to more than half a million customers in Northern California hoping to prevent wildfires during dry, windy weather throughout the region. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Millions of Californians are playing a waiting game with the winds after Pacific Gas & Electric cut power to prevent transmission lines from being toppled and sparking wildfires.

PG&E intentionally blacked out about 730,000 homes and businesses Wednesday in northern and central California because of predicted dry, gusty winds. The outages came in two phases, with the San Francisco Bay Area hit late Wednesday night.

There's no word on how long the outage will last, although PG&E says it could be days because power lines must be inspected and declared safe after the winds subside.

In the south, Santa Ana winds are expected to hit the region Thursday. Southern California Edison warns that it might cut power to nearly 174,000 customers in nine counties.