Power restored to areas in San Diego, Orange, Imperial counties
Power was being restored late Thursday to communities in San Diego, Orange and Imperial counties as officials grappled with an unprecedented outage from Southern California to parts of northern Mexico.
The Imperial Irrigation District said power had been restored to 90% of its customers. The utility serves 146,000 customers in Imperial County and parts of Riverside and San Diego counties.
San Diego County suffered the brunt of the blackout, which began about 3:30 p.m., officials said. By late Thursday, the lights were back on in some neighborhoods in Rancho San Diego, El Cajon, National City, Clairemont, Mission Valley and Miramar.
"We have a ways to go, but we're starting to see some progress," San Diego Gas and Electric President Michael Niggli told reporters at a news conference.
He said some customers could be without power through Saturday.
The San Diego Sheriff's Department said there were reports of a glass door broken at a taco store in Lemon Grove and a home break-in in Vista.
Schools in San Diego County and the Capistrano Unified School District were scheduled to be closed Friday, officials said.
Along northbound Interstate 15, parts of the freeway were pitch black. Near Menifee, at least a dozen cars were parked on the shoulder of the freeway, blinkers flashing, their drivers having run out of gas.
Anwaar Hassan, who works in San Diego and was trying to get home to Menifee, said he tried to take a shortcut to avoid the bumper-to-bumper traffic but burned up most of his fuel. So he got back on the freeway, but ran out of gas.
“If I’d have stayed on the freeway” instead of trying to take a shortcut, he said, he would have made it home. He was waiting for his wife to meet him with a gas can.
-- Mike Anton in San Diego County and Robert J. Lopez in Los Angeles
Photo: Ashli Labbe reads a magzine while waiting in line at San Diego International Aiport Friday after power had been restored. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times