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Hearst Castle among homes, businesses without power

UPDATE AT 2:20: Due to high winds and a power outage, Hearst Castle didn't open for tours today (Thursday), according to Nick Franco, superintendent of the State Parks district that includes Hearst Castle. Backup generators provided power, and Franco couldn't immediately tell whether grid power was back on when contacted Thursday afternoon.

"There was just so much debris (from trees) coming down," Franco said of the decision not to open Thursday. "We expect to open Friday."

The Cambria Fire Department, about eight miles south of the Castle, recorded a peak wind gust of 40 mph at 11:22 p.m.

UPDATE AT 11:55: Lindsey said that Hearst Castle has backup power generators for the possibility of outages, and that no tours have been affected.

ORIGINAL POST: About 2,300 homes and businesses – including Hearst Castle -- are without electrical power due to strong winds raking San Luis Obispo County this morning.

According to PG&E power is out at the following:

1,020 customers from San Simeon to Ragged Point, including Hearst Castle. Utility crews expect to restore power soon to the castle, a state park.

496 customers in Templeton, the cause unknown.

383 customers in Cambria, down from 1,200 earlier, due to a tree falling, bringing down power lines.

282 customers in Baywood Park, along Paso Robles Street, as well as northern Los Osos. The cause is wind related.

183 customers in Shandon. Two wooden power poles were apparently blown over near Parkfield, affecting the Shandon customers.

John Lindsey, a customer relations specialist with PG&E who also conducts local forecasting, said a strong atmospheric pressure difference between San Francisco and Los Angeles is causing the strong winds.

According to Lindsey, a lookout station atop Hi Mountain behind Lopez Lake, at an elevation of 3,190 feet, reported sustained winds of 55 mph this morning with a 63 mph gust.

Lindsey said the Paso Robles Airport reported northerly winds of 29 mph with a gust of 38 mph. Locations south of the Cuesta Grade reported less wind. San Luis Obispo Airport had sustained northerly winds of 22 mph with gusts to 32 mph.

PG&E reminds customers who discover a downed power line to assume it is energized and stay away. Call 9-1-1 immediately to report the location of the downed line, then call 800-743-5002, PG&E's 24-hour emergency service line.

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