If you find yourself cursing and muttering when the power goes out, you’re definitely not alone. Eighty-four percent of data professionals, for example, said they’d rather walk barefoot over hot coals than have their facility go down for any length of time, according to the Ponemon Institute's 2013 Study on Data Center Outages.
Whether cutting into your work day — or just the latest episode of Breaking Bad — blackouts have the power to bring even the most calm individual to a whole new kind of rage. The next time you find yourself left unexpectedly in the dark, let’s hope that the blackout doesn’t pack the damage that some can. Below, we round up some of the worst outages of 2013:
- No gift from Santa. An ice storm that pummeled Michigan the weekend of Dec. 21 left more than 500,000 customers in the dark. Some 150,000 of those remained powerless on Christmas Day, with full restoration not projected until Dec. 28.
- Deep freeze. A deadly blizzard of historic proportions pounded the Northeast on Feb. 8, bringing more than 3 feet of snow to some areas and cutting power to 650,000 homes and businesses, including 350,000 across Rhode Island.
- Rain, rain, (wouldn’t) go away. Massive rainfall and flooding caused outages in Mississauga, Ontario on July 8, leaving 560,000 customers in the dark.
- Fire power. Smoke from forest fires caused a transmission line to seize up on the 4th of July, knocking out power to 500,000 people in Montreal.
- Taken by storm. A Midwestern storm packing strong winds and heavy rain pounded Detroit on Nov. 17, leaving 450,000 customers without electricity. The storm, which packed wind gusts of up to 70 mph, knocked down trees and power lines across Michigan.
- Gone with the wind. A powerful windstorm knocked out power to 350,000 in Montreal Nov. 1. The storm caused two electrical currents to surge in front of one home, where the owner filmed an incredible "fireball" of electricity on the power lines outside. A highly charged orb passes in front of his house and then seems to explode when it reaches the next electric pole.
- Significant storms = sustained outages. On June 21, Twin Cities, Minn., faced a level of power outages that was "one of the highest we've ever faced," according to the utility president, after strong storms caused massive outages. Some customers were expected to be without power for up to six days, even though 1,000 technicians were called in from Ohio, Nebraska, Missouri and Iowa to help.
- Pounded power poles. A summer storm brought down at least nine power poles in Borrego Springs, Calif., on Sept. 6, leaving 1,200 customers without power for 48 hours. The extent of the damage made the repair process lengthy.
- Windy City woes. More than 300,000 Chicago customers lost power on June 24 after a major storm system, moving at about 60 mph, resulted in severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings.
- Rain check on power. Torrential rain was blamed for blacking out 300,000 customers on July 8. Environment Canada said some parts of the GTA were drenched with more than 100 millimetres of rain, trouncing the previous one-day rainfall record of 29.2 mm in 2008 for Toronto and even beating the 74.4 mm monthly average for July.