mabfan (Michael A. Burstein) (mabfan) wrote,
mabfan (Michael A. Burstein)
mabfan

This Day in History, 2003: The Great Northeast Blackout

Can you believe it has been exactly five years since the Great Blackout of 2003? The blackout hit much of the northeast United States and parts of Canada. Where were you?

I was at home (in Brookline, Massachusetts, which did not lose power) on the computer when the phone rang at 4:33 PM. It was my younger brother, Josh, in New York City, calling to ask me if I knew what was going on. As I had left the TV news on in the living room, and the TiVo was recording its buffer, I was able to start describing the news to him in real time. I learned of the blackout as I told him what was going on.

I served as the point person for my younger brother, my sister-in-law, and my mother for the next few hours. Josh had to sleep overnight in Manhattan. Rachel had to care for their new baby daughter, and I gave her information on New York City emergency lines and hospitals. And my Mom stayed home.

I recorded NBC Nightly News that evening and the Today show the next day, and a few months later I gave the tape to Josh so he could see what he missed.

As I mentioned above, Massachusetts (and pretty much most of New England) didn't lose power. After one of the major blackouts a few decades ago, the people in charge in New England had decided to set up a series of switches that could be opened should there be a power surge that might lead to a shutdown. Thanks to their foresight, I was able to help out my family as I described.

And as for today, the AP is reporting that the problems which led to the blackout have been resolved, but that increased electricity demand may lead to blackouts in the future unless the infrastructure is upgraded. (cf. 5 years after a giant blackout, are we better off?)
Tags: boston, brookline, history, nyc, personal
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