Today in history: Massive blackout hits Northeast US states

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A Look Back at New York City During 2003 Blackout

Twelve years ago the second most widespread blackout in history left a great part of the Northeast and Midwest of the country without power. While some areas managed to restore the electricity in a few hours, many people did not get their power back until two days later.

The blackout affected some areas of Canada as well with a total of 10 million Canadians and 45 million Americans left without power.

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As Time points out, currently the grid is still vulnerable to failure:



Were you living in a Northeastern state when the blackout hit? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

See the gallery below for images from the 2003 blackout:

26 PHOTOS
2003 Northeast blackout
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Today in history: Massive blackout hits Northeast US states
In this Aug. 15, 2003 file photo, a taxi moves down Broadway through the heart of New York's Times Square at dawn. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, file)
Commuters walk up the entrance ramp to the Queensborough (59th Street) Bridge in New York, as a police officer directs traffic after a massive power outage Thursday, Aug. 14, 2003, that stretched from New York to Detroit and into Canada. (AP Photo/David Karp)
In this Aug. 14, 2003 file photo, bystanders gather in Times Square in midtown Manhattan after a blackout in New York. Five years after the nation's worst blackout, executives at some of the nation's largest power generators fear the U.S. could run short on electricity if it does not quickly spend more on infrastructure projects. (AP Photo/Joe Kohen, file)
The Manhattan skyline, framed under the Brooklyn Bridge, is ablaze with lights after electricity was fully restored to New York on Friday night, Aug. 15, 2003, following a blackout Aug. 14. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
CVS manager Michael Lee, far left, tries to keep order at his store Thursday, Aug. 14, 2003, during the power outage in Detroit. The Jefferson Avenue store stayed open for about two hours during the outage and sold goods from the front door. Security officer Roland Graham is second from left. (AP Photo/John F. Martin)
Commuters and travelers flow out of the darkened hallways toward the main waiting area inside Grand Central Station in New York City, after a massive power outage Thursday, Aug. 14, 2003, that hit U.S. and Canadian cities. The outage disrupted cell phone service in New York, the subway system, and trains going in and out. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
The Statue of Liberty is lit but the New York City skyline behind it is mostly dark as seen from Bayonne, N.J., during a wide-spread power outage Thursday, Aug. 14, 2003. (AP Photo/Mike Derer)
Pedestrians leaving Manhattan flood New York's 59th St. Bridge to Queens in this Aug. 14, 2003 file photo, after a power blackout crippled the city. A year after the nation's worst ever blackout, utilities have made improvements and New York has spent millions of dollars on new high-tech gadgets to avert the chaos that followed. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg, File)
Commuters sleep on the steps of the Central Post Office in New York during the early hours in this Aug. 15, 2003 file photo, after being stranded following the city's electrical blackout. (AP Photo/ Mike Appleton, File)
A stranded traveler sleeps in the baggage claim area at John F. Kennedy International Airport Friday, Aug. 15, 2003 in New York. A power outage Thursday caused flight delays at airports in New York City stranding travelers for up to 48 hours or more. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
The dark Manhatten skyline, seen from Queens, is sillouetted against a pre-dawn sky Friday, Aug. 15, 2003. A widespread power outage hit most of northeastern United States Thursday afternoon, leaving the city in the dark. (AP Photos/Patricia McDonnell)
Bystanders gather outside Grand Central Station after a power black out in New York City, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2003. The biggest power blackout in history hit steamy U.S. and Canadian cities Thursday, stranding people in subways, closing nuclear power plants in Ohio and New York state and choking streets with workers driven from stifling offices. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Motorists wait in line to go through customs on the Detroit side of the Detroit Winsor tunnel that connects Detroit with Windsor, Ontario, Friday, Aug. 15, 2003. The tunnel had been closed during the blackout that hit the Detroit area, leaving only the Ambassador Bridge connecting the two cities. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Customers line up outside of the Dallas Food Market to buy goods Friday, Aug. 15, 2003, on the east side of Detroit. Detroit residents scrambled on Friday for everyday items such as water and food, after power was lost to much of the eastern seaboard of the United States late Thursday afternoon. Cities from New York to Toronto to Detroit were left without power after the accident, which is yet to be determined. (AP Photo/Paul Warner)
Trading opened at the normal time at the New York Stock Exchange, Friday Aug. 15, 2003. Stocks barely budged Friday as trading resumed with some glitches from the blackout in New York. Power was restored to the Wall Street area after 6 a.m., but stock market officials had said they could operate even if the outage continued. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Jersey City, N.J. commuters exit and enter the Waterway Ferry at Grand Street. in Jersey City N.J. , Friday, Aug., 15, 2003. Thursday's power outage caused commuter rail and bus lines to operate on limited schedules and officials said ferry traveler was lower than usual (AP Photo/Brian Branch-Price)
Cars try to navigate their way through New York City during a blackout that hit U.S. and Canadian cities in this Aug. 14, 2003, file photo. A year after the nation's worst ever blackout, utilities have made improvements and New York has spent millions of dollars on new high-tech gadgets to avert the chaos that followed. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)
Products in a dairy section that was left unrefrigerated due to a major blackout are marked to be thrown out at a grocery store in New York, Friday, Aug. 15, 2003. The blackout, affecting a large portion of northeastern United States, caused major disruption of businesses and daily life for millions. (AP Photo/Mike Appleton)
Commuters sleep on the steps of the Post Office on 33rd Street and Eighth Avenue in New York during the early hours of Friday, Aug. 15, 2003 after being stranded following the city's electrical blackout. The blackout occurred across much of northeastern United States and Canada. (AP Photo/ Mike Appleton)
Thousands of commuters wait for a chance to board a ferry from Manhattan to the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2003, in New York, after a massive blackout shut down trains and subway lines. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Shea Stadium in the Queens borough of New York is dark after a massive power outage caused the game between the San Francisco Giants and the New York Mets to be postponed Thursday, Aug. 14, 2003. The power outage stretched from New York to Detroit and into Canada. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
People watch a crowded bus pass them by on 125th street in the Harlem neighborhood of New York, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2003, during the power outage. A sudden blackout robbed electricity from millions of people across a vast swath of the northern United States and southern Canada on Thursday, exposing them to stifling heat and jammed rush hour streets _ and then darkness. New Yorkers escaped silenced subways, and nuclear power plants in four states shut down. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff)
In this Aug. 15, 2003 file photo, the sun rises over the skyline of the Upper West side of Manhattan as seen from Weehaken, N.J. Five years after the nation's worst blackout, executives at some of the nation's largest power generators fear the U.S. could run short on electricity if it does not quickly spend more on infrastructure projects. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma, file)
Traffic is backed up eastbound at the Little Ferry, N.J. traffic circle during rush hour as the Northeast experiences a power outage Thursday, Aug, 14, 2003. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Traffic is blocked along First Avenue in Manhattan by crosstown traffic after a massive blackout knocked out power in New York, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2003. (AP Photo/David karp)
People walk under the bright lights of Times Square in New York, Friday, Aug. 15, 2003, after power returned to the city. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
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