[UPDATED: Lights On!] Life in South Orange County; CUSD Schools Closed Friday

UPDATE, SEPT. 9, 9:43 A.M.: While most of South Orange County was already asleep or elsewhere--seeing as how the power had been out for hours and SDG&E was expecting the blackout to extend into Friday--the lights came back on in Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano and parts of Laguna Niguel, shortly after 11 p.m.

San Clemente remained dark through the night and CUSD schools remained closed for Friday.

ORIGINAL POST, SEPT. 8, 10:26 P.M.: As the final light faded into the horizon on Thursday evening, South Orange Countians had to face the hard realities of life in a blackout: it is really dark. My, how electricity is missed: no lights, no refrigeration, no cable--no internet! The landscape, in every direction, from Dana Point south to the Mexico border, east to the desert, was washed black.

Thanks, San Diego Gas & Electric.

Many took to the streets and traffic was everywhere, as residents departed for other places to spend the evening. Reports were that traffic on Crown Valley Parkway was backed up for miles and that the 5 Freeway was drastically slowed heading north throughout the night.

There was some positive news for south county young folk: the Capistrano Unified School District, in its first week of classes, announced on its website that all of its schools were to be closed on Friday. (San Clemente High definitely didn't get to get much done this week between the blackout and a bomb threat.)

"We have no assurance that power will be restored by the time school begins tomorrow morning, and local emergency jurisdictions have advised the District to suspend classes until power is restored," Superintendent Joe Farley said in the press release.

Traffic lights throughout south county flashed red, while others were out altogether. There were several accidents at street intersections, including at La Paz Road and Crown Valley, and Marguerite Parkway and Crown Valley. Residents roamed neighborhoods with flashlights and headlamps, while candles could be seen flickering through windows. Living in perpetual darkness isn't something anyone is used to--or willing to embrace for the longhaul.

Save us, SDG&E.

Driving north from San Clemente on the 5 Freeway, the only two buildings south of the 73 Toll Road with electricity appeared to be the Mercedes-Benz of Laguna Niguel dealership and the CUSD building.

According to SDG&E, the blackout is expected to stretch into Friday afternoon, though there are also reports that some parts of San Diego County was regaining power over the course of the evening.

So far, there have been no reports of looting or other crime, or terrorists lurking about. We'll keep you updated.


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