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Long Term U.S. Power Outages

Polaris Ranger

One of the most common survival situations Americans face is a long term power outage. Here in the United States, especially in rural areas short term power outages lasting 10 minutes to a couple of hours are fairly common. Short term outages are often caused by auto accidents or blown transformers and are generally more of a nuisance than an actual threat to a families safety. Long term outages on the other hand can leave you cold, without access to fresh water and the ability to cook food.

When I think of long term power outages I'm talking about being without electricity for 48 hours or more. Although this isn't something most of us have had to face very often, these outages actually occur more often than you think. Long term outages are usually regional and most often caused by natural disasters such as flooding, hurricanes or tornadoes and sometimes severe weather like ice storms. Another serious threat we face to our power grid is either a terrorist attack to major relays stations or the more hands off threat of computer hackers shutting down entire regions of the country.


Below is a partial list of major long term power outages in North America. To learn how you can prepare for an outage in your area read How To Survive A Long Term Power Outage.

  1. New Jersey - Hurricane Sandy hit on October 29, 2012 and left more than 8,000,000 people without electricity in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, and New Hampshire
  2. Massachusetts, Connecticut - an October 2011 snowstorm hit the east coast leaving over 2,000,000 homes and businesses without power, some without electricity for up to 7 days
  3. Alabama, Tornado - In April 2011, 340,000 residents in and around Huntsville Alabama were without electricity for 6 days after tornadoes struck the region.
  4. Connecticut - On March 14, 2010 hundreds of thousands of people were left without power in Connecticut, Long Island, and New Jersey for as long as 6 days..
  5. Kentucky, Indiana - On January 27, 2009 an ice storm hit Kentucky and Southern Indiana knocking out power to over 750,000 people. 18 days later more than 12,000 people still didn't have power.
  6. USA, Northeastern - On December 12, 2008 an Ice Storm caused more than 1,500,000 people to loose power from Maine to Pennsylvania, Some homes were without power for two weeks.
  7. Texas - On September 8, 2008, Hurricane Ike made landfall near Galveston Texas leaving more than 2,000,000 homes and businesses without power. !,000,000 homes power were restored by day 6, and it took up to 16 days to get power to the other 1,000,000 customers.
  8. Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska - December 8, 2007, a series of ice storms caused outages to over 1,000,000 homes and businesses lasting four days or more in some areas.
  9. Louisiana, Florida - August 31, 2005, Hurricane caused wide spread power outages in Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Power was out to some areas for months with the New Orleans area being the hardest hit.
  10. North Carolina, Virginia - On September 18, 2003 Hurricane Isabel made landfall at the Outer Banks in North Carolina. The storm weakened as it moved North and inland causing major issues in Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington D.C.. Electricity in numerous areas of Virginia were out for days, in rural areas it was out for weeks with more than 4,00,000 people loosing power.  
  11. Quebec, Ontario, North East United States -  The North American Ice Storm of 1998 left 3,500,000 people without power. Some people went without power for days, weeks, and even months with Quebec being the hardest area hit.
  12. Washington & Idaho - On November 19, 1996 an ice storm in the area around Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and Spokane, Washington causing power outages lasting up to two weeks.







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