Today while we were in the middle of school the electricity went out, and we later learned that the entire island lost power for several hours as a result of a lightning strike which happened just a few miles from our house.
The Associated Press
Published: March 26, 2009
A blackout left the entire island of Tenerife without power for several hours Thursday, trapping people in elevators, halting trains and causing huge traffic jams, officials said.
The outage was apparently caused by an electrical storm that knocked out a power plant, said Luis Roca, a spokesman for the local electrical utility, Unelco.
The Canary Islands, off the coast of northwest Africa, are one of Europe's most popular vacation sites. Tenerife, one of the seven islands, has a population of about 800,000.
Airports on the island operated normally after switching to emergency generators, the national airport authority AENA said.
About two-and-a-half hours after the blackout hit, crews managed to restore power to the island's capital city, Santa Cruz, the town of La Laguna and parts of the island's northern and southern coasts, Unelco said in a statement.
But before that, a light-rail system in Santa Cruz had ground to a halt, traffic lights had failed and huge traffic jams had clogged the streets, said Manuel Barreto, a spokesman for the city fire department.
"There is an absolute gridlock of cars," he said from the island during the peak of the blackout chaos.
The department received numerous calls from people trapped in elevators. Parents were calling each other with instructions to collect children from schools, which closed early. But in many cases people's cars were trapped in parking lots with electronically run doors or exit barriers, Barreto said.
"There are a lot of people out on the street trying to pick up their children," he said.
Hospitals and some other facilities were also operating on emergency power, an official with the Interior Ministry office in Tenerife said.