Thursday, September 8, 2011

No power to Southern California

I spent a lot of time learning about the history of the area I'm working in.  I took lots of pages of notes.  Finally made it out to the field at 3:00.  The roads are really fluffy and need a rain to put them back into shape.  I drove over a rattle snake today.  I stopped the truck and got out to see if I hit it.  I didn't.  The thing was over 4 feet long.  It was confused and went to one edge of the road then crossed the road again, then started crossing it again.  I got a stick and directed it away from the road.  It wasn't happy with me.  Too bad.  I wasn't in the mood for squishing snakes today.

My sister called today to ask me if I knew why the power was out in Orange, San Diego, and Imperial Counties affecting over 3 million people.  Never mind that I was in the middle of driving up a hairy four wheel drive road.  Between the smoke, dust, and the front end of the truck obscuring my view I had to make sure I wasn't going to drive myself and my truck off the road. No I don't know why the power was out.  I have to get out of the truck to see where the road is.  I'll call you back later. 

I drove down the powdery roads and came across an Orange County truck.  I asked the guy if he knew why the power was out.  As a matter of fact he did.  His girlfriend just sent him a text telling him that someone accidentally cut the line and it caused a problem with the grid. The nuclear power plant in Orange County was shut down as a precaution.  He said the power was expected to come back on in 12 hours or so.

My sister isn't going to be affected by the outage.  They just pulled out their generator and their power is back on.  They don't have gas in cans but they have three vehicles which they can siphon gas out of.  Brother-in-law's mother is being affected by this outage.  She lives about an hour out of San Diego but came into the city to attend a meeting.  Instead of driving all the way into the city she stopped just outside of the city and took the public transportation train into the city.  Unfortunately for her the trains run on electricity.  Therefore she can't get back to her car.  She is about five miles or so away from my sister's house but the traffic is so gridlocked that they can't get to her.  So she is stuck at the location of her meeting. 

An email is going around the family talking about this incident.  When it got to my turn to write something I made the comment that we in California aren't used to power outages.  In other states people lose power for a week or two due to winter storms or more recently hurricane Irene.  If we have an outage it may be for an hour.  Will this cause people in Southern California to rethink emergencies or inconveniences such as this?  How long would my sister's mother-in-law be stuck?  Since she isn't physically able to walk the 5 miles to their house or the 10 miles to her car would she just be left there for a week or two if the power was out for that long?  I'd assume that traffic would clear enough and they'd get her.  But, cell phone service is spotty down there right now.  What if they went to pick her up and she walked somewhere else?  When this power outage is over we will be having some after action discussion to see what they could do to improve the situation. 


  1. Could a motorcycle or bicycle be used to get the mom?

  2. I agree that something could have been done to get the mom. Instead she stayed at the meeting place until about 10:00 at night when a bus was provided to bring people to their vehicles. My sister said much of the area was still gridlocked.