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15 years later: Where were you during the Northeast Blackout of 2003?

Posted at 12:05 PM, Aug 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-14 12:05:01-04

Fifteen years ago today the lights went out on 50 million people in the Northeast—making it the largest power outage in US history.

It was Aug. 14, 2003. You probably know exactly where you were during the outage. Maybe you were driving home from the grocery store, or maybe you were far away from the outage watching from afar, or maybe you were just sitting in the dark.

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Wherever you were, the blackout seems like yesterday.

On a warm, sunny day at around 4:10 p.m., power plants shut down in three minutes. The widespread power outage cascaded across eight Northeastern and Midwestern states and the Canadian province of Ontario.

Life seemed to freeze as trains and elevators stopped. Everything, from cellular service to operations at hospitals and traffic at airports, was halted, as everyone waited for the power to turn back on.

An investigation revealed that the start of the blackout could be traced back to a local company, FirstEnergy.