Department of Emergency Management and Security
What It Is
Power outages can be frustrating and troublesome when they last a short while, but they can be dangerous if they last days or longer - especially in very cold or hot weather, or for individuals with specialized medical needs. Outages can also be costly, as all the refrigerated or frozen food in a home is liable to spoil. Outages may occur on their own, but more often they are a secondary effect of tornadoes, hurricanes, thunderstorms, winter storms, extreme heat (from system overload), or even deliberate acts such as an explosive or cyber attack. Some recent large-scale power outages were the result of grid-management software glitches, with no physical damage to components. Depending on the primary hazard, damage unrelated to the outage may slow power restoration primarily due to downed trees or floodwaters blocking access.