Photos: 15 Years Since the 2003 Northeast Blackout

On August 14, 2003, a series of faults caused by tree branches touching power lines in Ohio, which were then complicated by human error, software issues, and equipment failures, led to the most widespread blackout in North American history. More than 50 million people across eight northeastern U.S. states and parts of Canada were left without power for at least 24 hours, and many of them were in the dark for weeks. In New York City, thousands of commuters were stranded when the power cut out late on a Thursday afternoon. Memories of the 9/11 attacks only two years earlier were fresh in people’s minds as scenes of thousands of people evacuating Manhattan on foot were replayed.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Dita Alangkara / AP

    Photos: Deadly Post-election Riots in Indonesia

    Supporters of the presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto took to the streets of Jakarta, clashing violently with riot police, after his loss to incumbent President Joko Widodo was announced on Wednesday.

  • CC BY-SA ESA / Rosetta / NavCam

    The Small Bodies of the Solar System

    Images of asteroids, comets, trans-Neptunian objects, meteors, and more

  • Nhac Nguyen / AFP / Getty

    Buddha Day Celebrations in Photos

    Observations of Vesak, or Buddha Day, from several countries across Asia

  • Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Snowy Ladybug, Shattered Lance, Mexican Smog

    Engineering fashion in Beijing, a luxury houseboat for rising seas, flooding in Paraguay, the Giro d’Italia cycling race in Italy, Buddha’s-birthday observations in Taiwan, skateboarding in Los Angeles, and much more