Palo Alto-area outages likely to last into early evening 

A large power outage in the Palo Alto area caused by a plane crash this morning in East Palo Alto is expected to last into the early evening, Palo Alto officials said.

Power will likely be restored to Palo Alto residents at about 5:30 p.m., according to a statement posted on the city's Web site.

The outages started at about 7:55 a.m. when a small plane struck three power transmission lines that serve Palo Alto just before it crashed onto Beech Street in East Palo Alto, PG&E spokesman Joe Molica said.

No PG&E customers appear to be affected by the outage, Molica said. Palo Alto operates its own utilities, although the transmission lines are owned by PG&E, he said.

PG&E crews are working to restore power today, he said.

The majority of traffic signals in Palo Alto, including along major thoroughfares such as El Camino Real, University Avenue, and Embarcadero, are not working or on flashing mode, city officials said.

The Palo Alto Police Department has put all available officers out in the streets to ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians at the major intersections.

Motorists are urged to drive with caution and treat every signal as a four-way stop.

The power outage has caused Stanford Hospital and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital to operate on backup power generators.

Non-emergency procedures have been put on hold at the hospitals until further notice, said Shelly Hebert, executive director for public affairs at Stanford Hospital and Clinics.

Patients are being diverted to El Camino Hospital, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, and Kaiser Santa Clara.

Classes at Foothill College's Middlefield Campus in Palo Alto have been canceled for the day due to the outage. Classes at the college's main campus in Los Altos Hill have not been affected.

There is also no power at Palo Alto City Hall or the downtown library, according to city officials.

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