Tens of Thousands of San Diego Gas & Electric customers remained without power Friday as the utility continued emergency shutoffs due to high winds and fire weather. Some schools in San Diego's East County remained closed due to the outages, too.
The San Diego County of Education said Friday morning that the following school districts would remain closed due to the emergency power shutoffs:
- Alpine Union
- Valley Center-Pauma Unified
- Warner Unified
The continuing outages would also keep two more schools closed Friday: Jamacha Elementary in the Cajon Valley Union School District and Eucalyptus Hills and Lakeside Farms in the Lakeside Union School District.
The San Diego County Office of Education said it would inform the public of any additional school closures via Twitter.
San Diego Gas & Electric initiated the power shutoffs Wednesday night when howling winds from an intense Santa Ana wind event pummeled Southern California, including San Diego's mountains and valleys.
As of Thursday evening, SDG&E said the power shutoffs were still impacting about 45,000 customers -- down from a peak of 72,000 earlier that day.
Thursday's shutoffs also left some schools in San Diego's East County in the dark and, therefore, closed for the day due to the outages. The San Diego County Office of Education said those closure would likely also impact classes Friday.
Power Shutoffs & Fire Weather
SDG&E had warned earlier this week that nearly 90,000 customers could have their power turned off between Wednesday evening and Dec. 7 due to high winds.
The emergency shutoffs are initiated when strong winds pose a threat of knocking down power lines in areas dried out by winds, high temperatures, and low humidity.
On Wednesday night, that weather pattern hit the region hard and, thus, the shutoffs came. That night, SDG&E said more than 22,000 customers in San Diego's East County were without power. This included some residents in parts of Alpine; Boulevard; Campo; Campo Reservation; Descanso; El Cajon; Encinitas; Escondido; Jacumba; La Jolla Reservation; La Posta Reservation; Manzanita Reservation; Mesa Grande Reservation; Pauma Reservation; Pauma Valley; Potrero; Ramona; Santa Ysabel; Santa Ysabel Reservation; Valley Center; and Viejas Reservation.
"We recognize losing power is disruptive, and we sincerely thank our customers for their patience and understanding. For the latest information about outages and current conditions please visit sdge.com/ready," SDG&E said.
SDG&E was keeping track of its unplanned outages here.
The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 10 p.m. Saturday due to the high winds and low humidity. A High Wind Warning is also in effect from 10 p.m. Wednesday to 6 p.m. in the mountains and valleys, and a Wind Advisory went into effect for the coastal areas at 10 p.m. Wednesday and was set to last until 6 p.m. Thursday.
During a Red Flag Warning, any fires that spark will likely spread rapidly, the NWS said. Damaging winds could occur, capable of downing trees and power lines.
To take a look at what areas are at risk of possible shutoffs, click here.
Cal Fire San Diego said they were "staffed up and ready" for the increasing winds.
"The wind event beginning this evening in SoCal is going to be stronger, last longer and impact a much greater area than other recent events. We are staffed up and ready, but we need everyone's help," the agency said in a tweet.
San Diego County emergency officials urged residents take precautions themselves to prevent wildfires like removing any dead or dying plants and debris near homes with hand tools. Other tips can be found here.
The county also encourages all residents to sign up for AlertSanDiego or ListoSanDiego to be notified by cell phone notification of evacuation warnings and other emergency updates. The County's SD Emergency App or website can also be downloaded for the latest updates in the event of an emergency.