NE Blackout of 2003

Blackout area shown in circle

Blackout area shown in circle

On this day (Aug. 14th) ten ago was the great northeast blackout. The blackout started in the late afternoon and affected an estimated 45 million people in eight U.S. states and another 10 million people in Ontario. The cause was a software bug in the alarm system at a control room of the FirstEnergy Corporation in Ohio The software failed to re-distribute power after power lines hit a tree. This should have been a manageable local blackout but instead cascaded into widespread failure of the electric grid.

Those that lost power included the eastern part of Michigan, most of Ohio, Pennsylvania and NY State, western parts of Connecticut and Baltimore, Md as well as most of the Provence of Ontario. Power returned to most of the effected area in the middle of the night. But New York City and Toronto didn’t fully get power restored until Aug. 16th.

I was working at Kodak at the time and we didn’t lose power as Kodak Park had its own power plant. Driving home was difficult as all the traffic lights were out and when I got home everything was black.

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