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Blitzer: Blackout linked to Niagara power grid

Crowds in Manhattan head out of the city.
Crowds in Manhattan head out of the city.

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NEW YORK (CNN) -- A massive power blackout struck the Northeast just after 4 p.m. EDT Thursday, cutting electricity to New York City and dozens of other cities, stretching west to Detroit and north to Ottawa, officials said.

A New York state official told CNN the massive power outages were the result of electrical overload -- not terrorism -- in the Niagara Mohawk power grid, which supplies power to New York and stretches into Canada.

CNN anchor Kyra Phillips talked with CNN correspondent Wolf Blitzer about the grid being overloaded.

BLITZER: All right, let me tell you about the Niagara Mohawk power grid. I'm very familiar with this grid, having grown up in Buffalo, New York, along the Niagara River and Niagara Falls, which is the source for a lot of the electricity not only in the northeastern part of the United States but also in Canada -- all the way up to Ottawa and Toronto.

We are hearing reports from friends up in Toronto, Ottawa, that there's power shortages all the way up there. Not only in the northeastern part of the United States but also up in Canada.

As far as Detroit, we're hearing there is some shortages as well, which is understandable, given the fact that this Niagara Mohawk power grid, which comes from the enormous power that's generated by Niagara Falls, does service so much of the northeastern part of the United States, the northeastern corridor as well as Ontario, up in Canada and elsewhere in Canada as well.

We have heard from officials with the Office of Emergency Management here in New York City, Kyra, that there has been a problem with this Niagara Mohawk power grid.

This is a direct quote from a source of the Office of Emergency Management: "We have absolutely no idea what this is."

Obviously people are working feverishly right now to deal with this problem.

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