To mitigate wildfire risk amid hot, windy weather, PG&E officials are preparing to turn off power to 179,000 Northern California customers in 17 counties, beginning Wednesday and running into Thursday.

In the Bay Area, customers in portions of Sonoma, Napa and San Mateo counties will be impacted. (See maps in the gallery above.)

Shutoffs in the North Bay are expected to begin around 3 p.m. Wednesday, and they will hit affected areas of San Mateo County at approximately 1 a.m. Thursday.

In Napa County, a total of 7,488 customers will lose electricity in portions of Angwin, Calistoga, Deer Park, Lake Berryessa, Oakville, Pope Valley, Rutherford and St. Helena.

Sonoma County will see the power cut off to 26,845 customers in parts of Annapolis, Boyes Hot Springs, Cloverdale, Fulton, Geyserville, Glen Ellen, Guerneville, Healdsburg, Kenwood, Larkfield, Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Windsor and Stewarts Point.

In San Mateo County, only a small pocket of 372 customers in La Honda, San Gregorio, Woodside and unincorporated ares will lose power.

Customers may lose power even though they are not experiencing critical fire weather in their specific location. "This is because the electric system relies on power lines working together to provide electricity across cities, counties and regions," PG&E explained.

Forecasts show the high winds subsiding by noon Thursday, and after the weather has calmed, PG&E will inspect equipment for damage. The utility company says it hopes to have power restored "48 hours after the weather event has passed."

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office issued a statement Wednesday warning residents: "It could take a couple days for some people to have power again."

ALSO: The official list: Where the power will go out in California this week

PG&E has released outage maps and advises customers to visit a new sister site dedicated to providing shutoff information: psps.ss.pge.com. (Note: The website has been crashing off-and-on. PG&E says it's working on this issue.)

Impacted customers can utilize one of the many Community Resource Centers scheduled to open at 8 a.m. Thursday and stay open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. until the the shutoff has concluded. These are equipped with restrooms, electronic-device charging stations, bottled water and air-conditioning.

The outage comes at a time of year when the landscape is dry causing fires to spark and spread easily. Northerly winds are expected to pick up Wednesday evening into Thursday morning in the hills of the East Bay and North Bay, delivering critical fire risk. Winds between 35 and 45 mph with some 55 mph gusts in localized areas are forecast for Sonoma and Napa counties.

Amy Graff is a digital editor with SFGATE. Email her at [email protected]

Bay City News contributed to this story.