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Largest-Ever Blackout Hits Eastern U.S.

12 minutes ago Add U.S. National - AP to My



By CALVIN WOODWARD, Associated Press Writer


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.



AP Photo




Slideshow: Massive Blackout Hits Northeast


Bloomberg: No Evidence of Terrorism

(AP Video)

Massive Blackout Hits Northeast Cities

(AP Video)



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 (news - web sites) 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.



Power began to come back as evening wore on, but officials said full restoration would take much longer. Officials in Detroit urged people to stay home during the night; nearby communities declared curfews to keep problems to a minimum.



By Thursday night, New York authorities had electricity back on in parts of the Bronx, Westchester County and Long Island. About half of the one million homes and businesses that lost power in New Jersey had it back.



Outages ranged over an area with roughly 50 million people.



New Yorkers scrambled down endless stairways in skyscrapers where elevators stopped working, and some subway commuters were stuck for several hours underground. In the city that took the brunt of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, people filed into the streets with little fuss and looked for ways to get home.



"I'm trying to keep calm," said Aaron David, 27, who works at the United Nations (news - web sites). "But I was here for 9-11. This doesn't happen every day."



Traffic lights were out throughout downtown Cleveland and other major cities, creating havoc at the beginning of rush hour. Cleveland officials said that without the power needed to pump water to 1.5 million people, water reserves were running low.



New York state lost 80 percent of its power, said Matthew Melewski, speaking for the New York Independent System Operator, which manages the state power grid. Both New York and New Jersey declared states of emergency.



As darkness fell, city dwellers turned to candles and flashlights as scattered parts of the electrical grid came back on. People gobbled ice cream from street vendors before it melted, and chugged beer before it got warm, and gathered around battery-operated radios for updates.



Su Rya, 69, in batik shirt and shorts, guarded a store on 125th Street in Harlem. But when asked about talk that looting might break out, he said, "That's barbershop talk. It's a different generation now."



Marveled another man, "You can actually see the stars in New York City."



There were outages in several Vermont towns and in northern New Jersey, where Gov. James E. McGreevey mobilized 700 National Guardsman and ordered 300 extra state troopers on duty. In Connecticut, Metro-North Railroad service was knocked out. Lights flickered at state government buildings in Hartford.



Broadway shut down. Night baseball, too.





The Mets were trickling out for batting practice in New York when the blackout hit and the game was canceled. Hours later, the visiting San Francisco Giants were still waiting in the parking lot for their bus. Some 500 miles west, the Toledo Mudhens' International League game with the Norfolk Tides was called off, too, to be made up as part of a doubleheader Friday night.


"We have been informed that lightning struck a power plant in the Niagara region on the U.S. side," said Jim Munson, speaking for Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien.


But Brian Warner of the New York Power Authority said its Niagara facilities were not hit by lightning and "at no time during this incident ceased to operate.


In San Diego, Bush said "slowly but surely we're coping with this massive, national problem," and added that he would order a review of "why the cascade was so significant."


Bush said he suspected that the nation's electrical grid would need to be modernized.


In Albany, N.Y., several people were trapped in elevators in Empire State Plaza, but most had been freed by 5 p.m. People in New York City lined up 10 deep or more at pay phones, with cell phone service disrupted in some areas. Times Square went dark


In Cleveland, Olga Kropko, a University Hospitals labor and delivery nurse, said the hospital was using its backup generators and had limited power. "Everyone is very hot because the air conditioning is off," she said. "Our laboring moms are suffering."


John Meehan, 56, walked down 37 stories in the BP Tower in downtown Cleveland, wearing his suit and carrying a briefcase. "It makes you wonder, was this terrorism or what?" he asked.


The FBI (news - web sites) and Homeland Security Department both said the outages appeared to be a natural occurrence and not the result of terrorism.


Police in Mansfield, Ohio, spread into the streets to keep traffic flowing. "A lot of officers are out there trying to make sure nobody gets hurt, to try to cut down on the accidents," said jail officer Randi Allen.


The blackouts easily surpassed those in the West on Aug. 10, 1996, in terms of people affected. Then, heat, sagging power lines and unusually high demand for electricity caused an outage for 4 million customers in nine states.


An outage in New York City in 1977 left 9 million people without electricity for up to 25 hours. In 1965, about 25 million people across New York state and most of New England lost electricity for a day.


On Thursday, Amtrak suspended passenger rail service between New Haven, Conn., and Newark. Some northbound trains from Washington — a city that did not lose power — turned around at Newark.


Pataki urged New Yorkers to make do with less electricity when it returns. "Tomorrow is going to be a very tight energy day, obviously," he said. "We don't want people to think just because the lights are on they can use the washing machine."


As for the cause, he said: "It was probably a natural occurrence which disrupted the power system up there and it apparently for reasons we don't know cascaded down through New York state over into Connecticut, as far south as New Jersey and as far west as Ohio."


Nine nuclear power reactors — six in New York and one each in New Jersey, Ohio and Michigan — reported they were shut down because of the loss of offsite power, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Bethesda, Md.


The blackout set off security precautions developed after the World Trade Center attack, with heavily armed teams of counterterror officers deploying at New York City landmarks and other sensitive locations.


Officials swiftly realized the outage was not an act of terror and then used teams to make sure no one took advantage of the blackout to strike at a terror target, officials said.


Flights at six airports — Kennedy, LaGuardia, Newark, Cleveland, Toronto and Ottawa — were grounded, according to the U.S. Transportation Department.


In Times Square, Giovanna Leonardo, 26, was waiting in a line of 200 people for a bus to Staten Island.


"I'm scared," she said. "It's that unknown `what's going on' feeling. Everyone's panicking. The city's shutting down."


The blackout closed the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, which 27,000 vehicles use daily, and silenced the gambling machines at Detroit's Greektown Casino. Patrons filed into the afternoon heat carrying cups of tokens.




I just got the cable on again (got it disconnected just before the war on Iraq after threatening my kids to get it cut for months)and have been following the events since this afternoon.


There are so many theories already about what caused it. The Canadian prime minister at first said it was a bolt of lightning hitting a power plant on the US side, then the US said it was Canada's fault, now it's back to it happening on the State side. (at least it's brought the 2 countries together in a common crisis)


I just heard on the radio that one nuclear power plant had been shut down in Ontario, Canada and 9 nuclear power plants have been shut down in the States.


I wonder if there's going to be a big kirtan party at Times Square in New York.


I'm sure some devotees will remember the story of when Prabhupad first came to New York and there was a major power outage one night. Some devotees ran up the flights of stairs in a building where Prabhupad was living (in an office, I believe)and they found Prabhupad sitting in the dark (or maybe he lit a candle or two) calmly chanting Hare Krishna while most of New York, including the devotees, were in a state of panic.


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At 5:18 EST this morning, the lights resumed in my jungle cave in south-western Ontario.


A little taste of Baghdad for 50 million westerners. I expect it will slow most of us down, seeing how our fore-fathers lived and just how important Vivasvan is.

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We got the power back after 11 hours... the rest of the city has no power though... Manhattan...


The funny thing is, the CNN people are basically broadcasting news from the streets /images/graemlins/smile.gif


but I heard that this is the largest power black out in the history.


It was scary though , because we usually have alot of cars and much noise where I live.


but after the power was gone... there were more people appearing in the streets than the cars.


And Vets highway was completely empty /images/graemlins/shocked.gif

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Should show us who is in control of the energy and who isn't.


But few western minds will catch the hint.


Rather we will double our efforts at control to make sure this damn thing doesn't happen again.


We are totally dependent on Krsna.

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...when your roller coaster suddenly gets stranded like this while you are in /images/graemlins/wink.gif:

Posted Image

"Cars sit stopped on way up first hill of Magnum XL200 ride during power outage, Cedar Point Amusement Park, Sandusky, Ohio."

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Guest guest


New York: As New York reeled under a severe power cut, an Indian restaurant owner earned much praise for traditional Indian hospitality.


When the lights failed Thursday night, several restaurants downed shutters. Those that remained open doubled or tripled their prices but the stranded had nowhere else to go.


As ATM machines did not work and credit cards became useless, those with little cash had a tough time.


In this greedy jungle, Madras Mahal on Lexington Avenue, owned by Nitin Vyas, offered free meals to the hungry.


More importantly, it provided free cold water when the going rate for a small drinking water bottle was five dollars compared to usual one dollar.


The restaurant served rice with the Punjabi dish Channa-Bhatura and tea which was much in demand.


Even last afternoon, there was a queue of hungry people outside the restaurant waiting for a free meal. PTI

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Guest guest

The devotees should now preach

about the Krishna Sun

that never goes out


In Goloka

there is no need

of power stations

hence there is no outages

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Guest guest




By Sify News Desk


Cairo: A communiqué attributed to Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the power blackout that happened in the U.S. last Thursday, saying that the brigades of Abu Fahes Al Masri had hit two main power plants supplying the East of the U.S., as well as major industrial cities in the U.S. and Canada, "its ally in the war against Islam (New York and Toronto) and their neighbours."


The communiqué assured that the operation "was carried out on the orders of Osama bin Laden to hit the pillars of the U.S. economy," as "a realisation of bin Laden's promise to offer the Iraqi people a present."


The statement, which Al-Hayat obtained from the website of the International Islamic Media Center, didn't specify the way the alleged sabotage was carried out.


The communiqué read: "let the criminal Bush and his gang know that the punishment is the result of the action, the soldiers of God cut the power on these cities, they darkened the lives of the Americans as these criminals blackened the lives of the Muslim people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. The Americans lived a black day they will never forget. They lived a day of terror and fear… a state of chaos and confusion where looting and pillaging rampaged the cities, just like the capital of the caliphate Baghdad, and Afghanistan and Palestine were. Let the American people take a sip from the same glass."


It added: "we heard amazing statements made by the American and Canadian enemies which have nuclear physics universities and space agencies, that lightning hit and destroyed the two plants. And we are supposed to believe this nonsense. If the blackout occurred in one or two cities, their lie would have been credible. But the fact is that the blackout hit the entire East and part of Canada."


The communiqué continued: "one of the benefits of this strike is that the U.S. will not live in peace until our conditions are met, such as releasing all the detainees including Sheikh Omar Abdulrahman, and getting out of the land of the Muslims, including Jerusalem and Kashmir."


The authors of the communiqué said that the strikes aimed at "hitting the major pillar of the U.S. economy (the Stock Exchange)," considering that the operation was "a message to the UN, which is opposed to Islam, and is based in New York. It is a message to all the investors that the U.S. is no longer a safe country for their money, knowing that the U.S. economy greatly relies on the trust of the investor."


They added: "seven major airports stopped working, which is a strike to airlines companies; nine nuclear reactors broke down, something that never happened before, and this is considered as a major economic hit for the nine reactors in the states of New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Michigan. Means of transportation broke down: trains, cars and trucks, which resulted in great losses. The Internet stopped, leading to a freeze in trade transactions. The international banks headquartered in New York closed, not to mention the great losses incurred by the insurance companies, and the massive deployment of the police and security forces."


The communiqué mentioned that some economists said the blackout in the U.S. and Canada would cost the U.S. Treasury no less than ten billion U.S. dollars and in order to "break the hearts of U.S. officials, just know that the cost paid by the Moujahideen to sabotage the power plants was a mere seven thousand dollars. Die of sorrow!"


The communiqué ended with: "we tell the Muslims that this is not the awaited strike, but it is called the war of skirmishes (to drain the enemy), and that the American snakes are enormous and need to be consumed and weakened to be destroyed. We tell the people of Afghanistan and Kashmir that the gift of Sheikh Osama bin Laden is on its way to the White House; then the gift of Al Aqsa, and do we know what is the giftof Al Aqsa, where and when? The answer is what you are seeing!"

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Most of the Indian Newspapers are subject to yellow journalism, which includes the Sify news network.


I had a long talk with one of Eenadu's editors when I went to India.


He said that people in all of the papers including "Eenadu" almost write what they first think is valid ... they don't care if it is proven to be invalid later, they just won't change their story.


The result of this would be Yellow Journalism.


The "leads" are almost always wrong and it is worse when it comes to news about foreign affairs.


So, dude, I don't think we can depend on SIfy or any other Indian news paper to give 100% accurate information.

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