From weather events to human error, a range of snafus can wreak havoc for millions when they create the massive blackouts that have periodically struck regions around the world. A full moon created an eerie skyline silhouette after New York City went dark during the blackout of November 1965. Onlookers wait for the newly built cruise ship Norwegian Pearl to leave the Papenburg, Germany, shipyard in November 2006. A lack of power poses plenty of inherent problems, but massive blackouts can also lead to bad behavior. On August 15, 2003, a mass of New York commuters crossed the Brooklyn Bridge on foot during a blackout that robbed 50 million people of power for as long as two days in southeastern Canada and the Northeastern United States.
Historic winter storms decimated this electrical tower and other parts of the grid in China's southern Hunan province during February 2008. On November 10, 2009, the power supply dried up at the massive hydroelectric works at the Itaipu Dam and plunged 67 million people into darkness, including these SA?o Paulo pedestrians waiting to cross the street. Fewer than 250 adult Bawean warty pigs are alive todaya€”meaning they're likely an endangered species, a new study says.
Humpbacks and bowheads are benefiting from less ice in polar oceansa€”and for now, at least, more food.
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the Northeast blackout of 2003, the largest power outage in North American history. According to a new report released by the Department of Energy this month [PDF], there were 679 widespread (affecting at least 50,000 people) power outages due to severe weather between 2003 and 2012. And yet, despite a burst of construction of transmission lines in the past five years, the grid is aging faster than we can rebuild it. Particularly where extreme weather adaptations are concerned, power companies have (evidently) failed to keep up.
When the power goes out next time, your city may be ready, even if your energy company wasn’t.
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Manhattan became a city divided in two - above 39th Street and below 39th street.The reason for the split?
On the surface, the rhythms of the city were the same, but look a little closer and one can spot the cracks.South of 39th Street one's phone signal fails, as does the 3G connection.
The 26-year-old bartender from Williamsburg was stranded at his place of employment, as well as several other employees. Dozens of people lined up in front of the grill, passing each other ketchup and sharing stories of the storm. Josh Smeltzer, 34, had returned to his East Village apartment to check on it but was going to stay with friends uptown.
Just yards away Federal Hall was strewn with twigs, leaves and cigarettes which had been blown over it by the wind.For some living in the area the main priority was getting a hot shower and keeping warm.


David Simmons prepares hamburgers, hot dogs, and apple bacon covered chicken outside the Bowery Kitchen. Small business owners refused to be beaten and some were already trying to get back to normal. New York's governor Andrew Cuomo has paid tribute to 'the courage of New Yorkers and the spirit of New Yorkers and how New Yorkers really are at their best when things are at their toughest.''When the pressure is on, that's when we respond,' he said.He also vowed 'we will rebuild', which is a fine thing to say, but the real question on every New Yorker's lips is this - when?When is the power going to come back on?
In a world that's increasingly dependent on constant power, massive electrical outages are a common concern and may strike systems across the globe.Major power disturbances can be triggered by storms, heat waves, solar flares, and many other sources, but all have roots in the mechanical and human vulnerabilities of the power grids themselves. Soon after, on its trip down the River Ems, the ship indirectly caused a two-hour power outage for some 10 million people on the evening of November 4.The German power company E. A lightning-sparked outage in 1977, which left 9 million New Yorkers without power, lasted only about 24 hours on July 13 and July 14. In Chenzhou, some 4.5 million people were without power for nearly two weeks, thanks to the effects of the worst storms in 50 years. Brazilian energy officials said storms short-circuited several vital transformers, completely cutting off power from the second largest hydroelectric source in the world.About one third of all Brazilians lost power for four hours, including those living in the nation's two largest cities. We salvaged a tub of ice cream on the roof, hitched a ride home with strangers, directed traffic at a darkened intersection, and so on. More than 12 hours after the biggest North American power outage in history left huge swaths of the Northeast in sweltering darkness, much of New York and its suburbs were still without electricity. For those in the affected area, recollections have been supplanted by disaster stories of Superstorm Sandy, and then some. The cost of these incidents has been calculated to be anywhere between $18 and $70 billion per year.
The National Energy Policy Act, passed in 2005, has successfully compartmentalized grid malfunctions. We haven’t approached the rates of line construction that characterized the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Even if another enormous regional blackout is unlikely, low-lying transformers and aerial power lines leave grid-dependent population centers vulnerable. Natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ike have inspired coastal cities to revise disaster preparations. Queues formed at payphones and people dug out coins to make a call, something which some had probably never done in their lives. Several bars of chocolate and chewing gum had been strewn over a nearby crossing.At the New York Stock Exchange workers removed sandbags that had stopped the trading floor from going underwater. When will there be gas in Manhattan again?How are people expected to cope with no power for a week?
The outage's exact cause may be debatable, but the ultimate source of trouble was predictable: India's power structure is often unable to meet peak power demands.


But during that time, arsonists torched buildings like these on Marmion Avenue in the Bronx, setting a reported 1,000 fires.
All of Paraguay, which shares power from the border dam, also saw suspended service for a short time. The subways were not running and many residents had no water because their electric pumps were not working. This reduces the chance of another "domino effect" like the one that took place a decade ago, when a glitch in an Ohio alarm system shut down the power for 55 million people. Seventy percent of transmission lines and transformers, according to the report, are now over a quarter-century old. Throngs of tourists visited Times Square, posing for pictures and enjoying the now temperate weather.South of 39th Street things were quite different.
When will the subway system be running again?For now New York is muddling by, staying with friends and putting up with it. But the dead line quickly increased pressures elsewhere in the German power grid and then sparked a chain reaction across parts of Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Austria, the Netherlands, and Croatia. Looters and rioters also ran rampant and trashed some 1,600 stores during what Mayor Abraham Beame called "a night of terror." When similar outages struck the city in 2003, however, such problems were few and far between. When this photo was taken on February 5, Chinese officials said 11 electricians had already lost their lives while attempting to repair infrastructure.Since that fateful winter, China has improved its abilities to monitor power system status and gather information that operators can use to prevent an initial failure from spreading to a much larger region. In dynamic developing economies like Brazil, China, and India, the surging demand for power poses a significant challenge for systems that often are simply not up to meeting demand. And when bad weather bears down, cities have adopted a "better safe than sorry" approach, shutting down basic services as a cautionary measure. Below 39th Street, it was a different story.Early on Tuesday morning there were joggers in Riverside Park and dog walkers taking pets out for a stroll.
A system is designed to tolerate a certain amount of disruption but past a certain point, it's simply gone too far and it falls apart."The "great Northeast blackout," which began when a power surge near Ontario set off a chain of failures across New York State and beyond, covered 80,000 square miles.
A faulty or improperly set safety relay at an Ontario power station was blamed for sparking a southbound power surge that overwhelmed systems from Vermont to New Jersey. Critics said the incident showcased the need for more universal electricity distribution policies across Europe.
Other achievements include the requirement that power companies trim trees around lines, and a bevy of other, more technical regulations.



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Comments

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