17 years Ago Today, Michigan Went Dark [Video]
A branch from a tree fell on some power lines in Ohio, setting off a massive power outages that reached nine states and one Canadian province.
The blackout rolled out at around 4:10 in the afternoon on August 14, 2003, and affected most of the Northeast US, most notably major metropolitan areas like Detroit, New York City and Philadelphia.
The big cities were hit with transportation slowdowns and left may stranded on elevators and even roller coasters for long periods of time.
Michigan was mostly affected from Detroit west to Lansing and Ann Arbor. Grand Rapids and West Michigan were spared, mostly, but travelers heading east found travel slowed considerably.
All told, 50 million citizens were without power from anywhere from two to seven hours across a region that extended from Michigan to New England and across the border to Ontario.
By midnight, it was over in most areas, but some remote sections of the region were without power until two days later.
The cause of the black out was blamed on a software bug that failed to detect overloads caused by high voltage wires weighted down with foilage.
The result was energy companies spending more money on tree removal, and new software programs that allow operators to monitor overloads in real time.