Largest-Ever Blackout Hits Eastern U.S.
The largest power blackout in U.S. history rolled across a vast swath of the northern United States as well as southern Canada on Thursday, driving millions of people outdoors into stifling rush hour streets — then darkness. New Yorkers escaped silenced subways. Nuclear power plants in four states shut down. “We all are wondering what caused this,” said New York Gov. George Pataki. President Bush ruled out terrorism. The blackouts set off finger-pointing on both sides of the border. At one stage, Canadian authorities said it appeared lightning had struck a power plant on the U.S. side in the Niagara Falls region, setting off outages that spread over 9,300 square miles, but U.S. officials quickly disputed that. The blackouts started shortly after 4 p.m. EDT, engulfing most of New York state and nearby parts of New England, and spreading west to Ohio and Michigan. In Toronto, Canada’s largest city, workers fled their buildings when the power went off. There also were widespread outages in Ottawa, the capital. Full Story