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Fri, Aug 15, 2003

Huge Blackout Closes Major Airports

Cause Unknown; DHS Says 'Not Terrorism'

As of press time, no one knew what caused a giant blackout yesterday afternoon, that kept electric power from possibly tens of millions in the US and Canada. Even though no one knew exactly what caused the blackout, one cause was immediately ruled out: terrorism.

That's probably true; Mayor Bloomberg of New York said his information pointed to something's going wrong at the Niagara Mohawk facility on the border, in Canada.

Indeed, the blackout, in addition to snuffing out lights and air conditioning across much of New York state, also hit Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal, as well as population centers of Detroit (spreading as far numerous cities in Michigan, including as Lansing; and even to Toledo and Akron, Ohio) and Cleveland, and all along the eastern Great Lakes, as well as large areas of New England and parts of the Middle Atlantic states.

For reasons yet unknown, D.C. was not affected; and Quebec City in Canada was still powered up. The entire states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire were OK, as well.

Every prison in New York state was running on backup power; water delivery systems in several states were also suffering as a result of the outage.

The power outage hit at about 4:15PM on the coast, just as rush hour was getting into gear. New York's tunnels and subway system, as well as JFK and LaGuardia, were closed. [We checked with Flight Service, which said at press time that Newark was open; MSNBC said it was closed; the airport's official website didn't say --ed.] Detroit's Metro, Cleveland's Hopkins, and Canada's Toronto (Pearson, above) and Ottawa International were also closed.

By 6PM, power was starting to creep back into the grid. At press time, the infrastructure was holding, and power was coming back on in many areas.



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