Gusty winds cause school closures, power outages in East County

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SAN DIEGO -- Strong winds made it dangerous to bus kids to school in parts of East County Wednesday, forcing an entire district to cancel classes.

Officials announced around 6:30 a.m. that schools in the Mountain Empire School District would be closed due to high winds, "which make travel to and from school challenging, especially for high-profile vehicles such as school buses."

That danger for large vehicles was illustrated by a semi-truck that tipped over on an East County highway overnight as isolated wind gusts reached nearly 90 miles per hour. Forecasters have issued a High Wind Warning through Wednesday afternoon.

School officials said the decision to cancel classes was also prompted by power outages in Descanso, Guatay, Pine Valley and parts of Boulevard. More than 1,000 people in those communities were without power as of 7 a.m. By 11 a.m., approximately 3,000 customers were without power, SDG&E told FOX 5. Power was expected to be restored sometime Wednesday afternoon.

The Mountain Empire district includes four elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school, in addition to an alternative education and transition program for special education students. The campuses are spread across southeast San Diego County, from Pine Valley and Descanso to the border city of Campo.

The San Diego County Office of Education said parents could check their Twitter account for updates on the school closure.

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