Top 10 most unusual outages of 2015
From a litter bug to a literal bug, there was no shortage of odd outages last year, as Eaton tracked more than 3,500 total blackout incidents across the nation in 2015. Here, we take a look at 10 of the most bizarre:
10. Snug as a bug in a … transformer?
In Liberty, Texas, residents were bugged by a rise in outages during the month of April —literally. The city came under attack from thousands of Tent Caterpillars hatching from eggs in trees. All of those additional feet on the street resulted in numerous power outages, which occurred when the insects covered transformers.
9. Drone disaster.
Not to be outdone in the category of outages-caused-by-airborne-devices, a man flew a drone into power lines in West Hollywood on Oct. 26, causing a power outage. The fire department had to close two westbound lanes of Sunset Boulevard due to the incident, while crews from Southern California Edison worked to restore power to 627 customers, including many businesses.
8. It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a ???
A blimp associated with the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s surveillance of the East Coast became untethered from its mooring station in Maryland on Oct. 28 and drifted to Bloomsburg, Penn. Two F-16s scrambled to track the aerostat, but not before it created some hefty havoc. A cable connected to the low-flying blimp was dragging along the ground, causing it to strike power lines, which blacked out more than 20,000 homes.
7. World Series power loss (and we’re not talking about batting).
An ill-timed outage interrupted Fox's Oct. 27 telecast of Game 1 of the World Series between the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets. Fox explained the outage, which occurred in the middle of the fourth inning, by saying its broadcast truck in Kansas City lost power due to a “a rare electronics failure.” The game was also halted for seven minutes because there was no video for replay. Play resumed after managers agreed to continue without replay.
6. Turkey irony.
He survived being somebody’s Thanksgiving feast, but couldn’t escape a giant wallop of electricity. Just two days after the fowl-focused holiday, a turkey made its way into a North Platte, Neb., substation and caused a large-scale outage. More than 6,000 customers were left in the dark for about an hour —which wasn’t too bad, when you consider the fate of the poor turkey.
5. This blackout was a real drag.
Cigarettes don’t just cause cancer and emphysema —they can even be responsible for power outages! On Sept. 3 in Gastonia, N.C., a 26-year-old woman was driving a Kia Soul when she ran off the road and struck a power pole. Police reveal that the woman dropped her lit cigarette and was trying to pick it up off the floor when she crossed the center line and veered off the road. As a result, some 4,000 residents lost electricity for an hour.
4. Litter bug knocks out power then heads to slammer.
What began as an attempted traffic stop over littering left a Union City, Ohio high school in the dark on August 6 —and landed a man in county jail. The 41-year-old was arrested after leading police on a pursuit throughout the town after a passenger in the car was observed throwing a glass jar out a window. The car headed down an alley, where it struck a guide wire to a utility pole, causing blackout.
3. Crime leads to blackout — for customers, then suspect.
Thousands of residents lost power July 23 in Federal Way, Wash., after a suspect fleeing from police crashed his truck into a utility pole then fled on foot. He later jumped out of a third-story apartment window and was found seriously injured on the pavement below.
2. A close “call.”
Police say a fight over a cell phone is what sparked death threats, a carjacking, a crash and a power outage March 25 in New Mexico. A man was reportedly in a rage over his father’s refusal to activate his cell phone, so he grabbed a gun and chased his parents. When police arrived, the suspect fled and carjacked an SUV, then led police on a chase, eventually crashing and sheering a power pole in half.
A Canadian goose took a wrong turn in Wapiti, Wyo., on March 31, flying into a power line and knocking out electricity to 664 customers for 3 hours. A witness who was driving described seeing a flock of geese overhead, then a sudden bright light flashed and one fell out of the sky.