CLEVELAND - There were rolling blackouts all over northeast Ohio Friday in order to conserve energy, NewsChannel5 reported.
Kristen Baird of First Energy said the blackouts were needed in order to maintain integrity of the system. She suggested residents conserve energy as much as possible. This would include not using air-conditioning units, NewsChannel5 reported.
The temporary outages lasted for two hours throughout Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties.
The outages affected about 125,000 customers at a time. Forty-thousand others still remain without power.
Officials said the outages were expected to end by the end of the business day because the demand for power will diminish.
A power outage left much of northern Ohio -- as well as major cities across the United States and Canada -- in the dark for several hours Thursday and Friday.
Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell asked downtown workers to stay out of the area until noon Friday. The boundary area included East 30th Street to the east, Lake Erie to the north, the Cuyahoga River to the west and Carnegie Avenue to the south.
Power has been restored to all customers.
Campbell asked everyone to conserve energy. She said to stop using your air conditioning and suggested finding something else to do rather than stayiny indoors, like taking a walk.
NewsChannel5 reported that a state of emergency was declared for Cuyahoga County, which means that county officials have access to state and National Guard funds, resources and manpower.
Ohio State Patrol Troopers were assisting Cleveland police to keep order. Cleveland officers worked 12-hour shifts.
Campbell said that the state fire service had 12 water tankers to help with firefighting needs in the city. EMS also has 22 units working through the night, mostly helping people who are energy dependent and need help getting to the hospital.
There was an emergency phone numbers for people who need help or want to report problems like open fire hydrants. Residents could call (216) 664-2220 or 664-3390 throughout the night.
As of 9 a.m., there were still 400,000 homes without power. At its peak, there were 1.5 million outages.
The huge blackout hit cities from New York to Detroit to Toronto. The outage may stem from a fire and major generator failure at a power plant in upstate New York that distributes power to sources in many other cities.
Officials said that it is a domestic situation and there is no indication that any terrorism is involved.
Electricity was sporadically returning to various outside communities, although power officials also said the restored areas may be running only off temporary generators. The following communities reportedly kept some power: Alliance, Aurora, Bainbridge, Beachwood, Brooklyn Heights, Brunswick, Canton, Columbia Station, Concord Township, Cuyahoga Falls, Grafton, Highland Heights, Hudson, Lagrange, Leroy Township, Macedonia, Mantua, Mayfield Heights, Medina, North Canton, North Ridgeville, Northfield, Orange, Ravenna, Rittman, Sandusky, Sheffield Lake, Solon, Springfield, Streetsboro, Stow, Vermilion, Wickliffe.
Luckily, there were no injuries or fatalities reported in northeast Ohio.
Most buildings in downtown Cleveland were evacuated shortly after 4 p.m. Some elevators shut down in between floors, trapping people inside. One worker reported having to walk down 18 floors in sheer chaos. Elevator repair technicians were called in to help trapped citizens escape and deal with malfunctioning elevators.
Lights at NewsChannel5 were out, but the station operated some of its computers and televisions by using a backup generator. While many local residents are not able to watch NewsChannel5's broadcasts, some cable channels are running them.
Traffic lights were out all over the area, causing major tie-ups and dangerous driving conditions. Many employers sent their employees home early, sparking an increase in traffic at rush hour as people left their jobs at the same time.
Officials at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport said several planes were able to take off and land, although some flights were delayed. Hundreds of passengers were stranded for hours. Click here for updated flight information.
The airport is scheduled to reopen at about 8 a.m. You should call before you go.
Emergency Services, Businesses Affected
Many area hospitals are running on backup generators, so patient care reportedly was not interrupted. Emergency services are operating normally, with police, fire, and EMS available. Prisons in the region were also operational.
However, pumps at most area gas stations were out, stranding many people whose tanks were on empty and had no way to get home.
Automatic teller machines at banks were inoperable. Power plants across the area were also shut down as a precaution.
Many cell phone towers were reportedly down across the area, causing many people to be without service.
Precautions Should Be Taken
Because of the hot, muggy weather, it was important to stay hydrated if air conditioners and fans weren't working. Sick people and the elderly were told to take extra precautions so they would not get overheated. Animals also needed to be kept as cool as possible.
Mayor Jane Campbell urged people to remain calm. Residents were asked to turn off and unplug appliances, because power surges could occur when electricity was restored. People also were asked not to make unnecessary phone calls.
Residents -- particularly in the cities of Cleveland and Lorain -- were asked to conserve water and use it only in emergency situations. Water ran out in several suburbs. (Read more on water crisis).
There were several cancellations and closures for Thursday evening, including all Playhouse Square performances, all Gospel House church services and the Cuyahoga County Public Library.
Click here to check area closings.
Copyright 2007 by NewsNet5. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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