Potential danger in North Fork power outage

NORTH FORK, Calif.

"Nobody knows what darkness is until you get up here in North Fork and it's a blackout," she said.

White is nearly 93 years old and usually relies on electricity for entertainment on her TV or computer and more importantly, for heat. Now, she's using a wood stove to warm her home, but the heat doesn't extend all the way to her bedroom.

"Last night it was cold," she said. "I was not warm last night."

Thursday's wind knocked out power to more than 2,000 customers in North Fork, but PG&E crews restored most of it by noon Friday.

A grocery store lost some frozen items, but otherwise weathered the storm and got its lights back.

Many North Fork residents say power outages are commonplace, so they're prepared.

"We've got the wood stove that I put in which is the only way to go in this area because of the consistent power outages that happen throughout the winter time," said Frank Prudhomme.

Local schools were not equipped to function without electricity, though. The Chawanakee Unified School District canceled classes Friday and you can see why. Classrooms at Spring Valley Elementary School have been dark all day.

For students, the power outage means a day off, but for Ida White, it's potentially dangerous.

"It's very scary, but you have to do what you have to do," she said.

But after 31 years in North Fork and hundreds of power outages, White's developed a network of caregivers and friends who make sure she's okay until her lines are recharged.

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