Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Where were you 10 years ago today? Remembering the "Big Blackout" of our generation

So ten years ago today, something happened that was kind of a big deal in the Northeast. If you lived here during that time, you will remember that today marks the 10th anniversary of the biggest blackout of our generation. Wow! In many ways, I can't believe it was 10 years ago already, but in other ways, it feels like a life time ago!

Ten years ago today, I was:

  • A teenager just wanting to move out of my parents' house! Ahh, life without bills. How naive I was!
  • Working at a gas station/convenience mart when the power suddenly went out. People were pumping gas on our digital pumps and they all ended up getting free gas because we couldn't 'prove' how much they got. 
  • Listening to our customers' moods go from excited about the monumental event unfolding to annoyed about how crazy people were driving on the roads without functional traffic lights to worried about how long a blackout during the dog days of summer would last to relaxed and wanting to buy and subsequently drink all the beer we had in the store.
  • Counting money by candlelight scared out of my mind that area knuckleheads would try to break into the store since our security system was down (we only had a simple deadbolt on the front door, made of glass).
  • Wanting to go home because work was driving me crazy, only to get more annoyed once I got home since I was trying to read books by candlelight.
  • Hoping the store would be closed the next day so I wouldn't have to go in.
  • Waiting to hear from my aunt who was going into labor with my baby cousin!


So where were you 10 years ago today? Were you affected by the big Northeast blackout of 2003? Leave your story in the comments :)

12 comments:

  1. I was 14 and don't remember this at all =/

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    1. My sister was 12 and I don't think she remembers much about it either except she couldn't go on the computer and play video games. I could be wrong though!! :)

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  2. We were waiting the arrival of our 2nd child. I don't remember a blackout at all! I just remember a lot of Braxton Hicks. LOL!

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    1. And I know firsthand that some of those BH contrations towards the end can be pretty strong!! :) My cousin's 10th birthday is tomorrow - my aunt ended up giving birth during the blackout and the hospital was on generator power. I can't imagine!!!

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  3. Somehow I am not remembering this. Maybe it didn't reach all the way down to NJ? Or I might have been traveling at that time, so that would explain why I missed it.

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    1. I just found this on Wikipedia about NJ. It was pretty bad in NY and from what I've been reading, NY pretty much got the brunt of it. But NJ was affected:

      (From Wikipedia) "Affected areas included most of Hudson, Morris, Essex, Union, Passaic and Bergen counties, including the major cities of Paterson and Newark, although some sections of Newark and East Orange still had power; also, small sections of certain towns in Essex and Hudson counties had power. Power was returned first to the urban areas because of concerns of safety and unrest. Counties as far south as Cumberland were affected, but power was restored within an hour. Some towns in Bergen County saw only a momentary dropout in power, but did see wild oscillations in powerline voltage, ranging from about 90V to 135V, up and down every few minutes for an hour.[citation needed]

      The day following the blackout, August 15, the New Jersey Turnpike stopped collecting tolls until 9:00 a.m."

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  4. I was 30 (YIKES) and lived in CT at the time and don't remember this. But ten years ago I was a single mother of one and now I'm a married mother of two living in the Wild West. My how things change.

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    1. Wow, from CT to the "Wild West" - that sure is a big change :) I found this on Wikipedia about the parts of CT that were affected. I guess not all of CT was affected either! From what I've been reading, almost the entire state of NY was out of power. It was nuts:

      (From Wikipedia): "Parts of New London, Hartford, New Haven, Litchfield and Fairfield counties, from Greenwich to Danbury and Bridgeport, were affected, although most of the state had power all evening, aside from a few momentary interruptions that caused computers to reboot. Metro-North trains stopped and remained on the tracks for hours, until they could be towed to the nearest station. Generally, most of the state east of Interstate 91, and some places west of I-91, had power during the duration of the blackout, with some of New Haven's eastern suburbs being seen as the easternmost extreme of the effects of the blackout."

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  5. I don't live in your area but I find this post kinda informative. I can't bear hours of brownout. How much more for a Big Blackout! It could have been tough for all of you.

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    1. It was really nuts because the internet really wasn't what it is now (most people didn't have "high speed" internet, cell phone service mostly stunk and no one had smart phones yet). You had to rely on the radio, but in NY, a lot of the power for radio and its TV affiliates were down because of the widespread power outage. It was just pure bedlam.

      I don't live in Manhattan but I do work and go to school there and there were quite a few of my friends who lost power in Hurricane Sandy. To see the images of Manhattan completely in the dark after the storm was unprecedented!!

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  6. I was in Florida on vacation so I totally missed it. My husband however (boyfriend at the time) had a friend who managed a bar. Needless to say they all had a great time "saving" everything that was in the cooler so it wouldn't be wasted with the power out.

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    1. That is too funny. You would have thought at the gas station I worked at, that we would have sold out of the essentials, like milk and eggs. But we completely sold out of beer! Something about alcohol and blackouts, haha

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