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Power Outage Causes Raw Sewage Spills; Major Traffic Jams

Power outages throughout San Diego County as of 9 p.m. Thursday.
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Above: Power outages throughout San Diego County as of 9 p.m. Thursday.

— The sudden loss of power throughout San Diego County had a cascading effect of stranding people in elevators, grounding outgoing flights from San Diego International Airport and temporarily closing the region's border crossings.

The city of San Diego water system has lost power, causing two sewage pumps stations to spill raw sewage. One of the stations is located in Rancho Peñasquitos and is spilling water into a nearby lagoon. Another station in the South Bay also spilled some raw sewage into the nearby Sweetwater River. The city is working with county officials to post warning signs in the area.

Emergency personnel are out throughout the county responding to calls, but there are no immediate reports of significant injuries due to the outage. There were many reports of people stuck in elevators. Major traffic jams were also reported as people throughout the county tried to get home through non-functioning traffic signals. Police have been sent to many intersections for traffic control and were expected to stay on the posts throughout the night.

The emergency operation centers of the city of San Diego and the county are operating; they are usually reserved for major disasters, like wildfires. Emergency personnel are being called into work, police officers are being deployed to intersections. There are reports that some traffic signals are operating.

San Diego fire stopped responding to elevator rescues Thursday afternoon unless it was an emergency.

All outgoing flights at Lindbergh Field were canceled Thursday night and some flights on Friday morning. TSA did not have electricity to operate security screening areas. Some flights were allowed to land, while others are being diverted.

Airport officials recommend passengers with flights on Friday check with airlines for the latest information concerning their flights.

MTS says buses will be running, but may be delayed due to major traffic jams. Additional buses are being used to shuttle passengers from trolleys from around the county, which stopped operating.

Many stores have closed because they cannot process sales through their cash register. Gas stations were unable to provide gas and the pumps are not working.

San Diego State University has cancelled classes for the day & sirens were heard wailing on the campus at about 4:45 PM for several minutes. There were reports of workers streaming out of buildings in downtown San Diego after the outage.

At Oceanside Elementary School, teachers say power went off as parents picked up kids. After school classes are continuing calmly in darkened classrooms. Teachers called parents one-by-one on cell phones to pick up their kids. An after school baseball game continued on fields. Many staff members without children went home because they could not prepare lesson plans. There are also concerns about food spoiling in the kitchen.

We will update as soon as more information is available. For more immediate updates, follow the KPBS News Twitter account: @kpbsnews

Video

San Diego Blackout Shuts City Down

Above: Traffic backed up on city and county roads as the blackout that started at about 3:38 p.m. continued into the night on Sept. 8, 2011.

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