Category: Power Outage

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 Residents remain on the brink as rivers across Carlisle remained extremely high today as rain continued to fall across the Cumbria region

Residents remain on the brink as rivers across Carlisle remained extremely high today as rain continued to fall across the Cumbria region




Base data

EDIS Number FL-20151211-51208-GBR
Event type Flood
Date/Time December 11 2015 04:38 AM (UTC)
Last update December 11 2015 04:42 AM (UTC)
Cause of event
Damage level High Damage level

Geographic information

Continent Europe
Country United Kingdom
County / State England
Area Cumbria Region
Settlement Glenridding
Coordinate 54° 32.690,2° 56.986



The village of Glenridding, which had been cut off since Sunday, was hit with a deluge of water after the river burst its banks. A “multi-agency” response, which includes the military and fire services, got under way last night amid concerns that the latest flooding may endanger lives. “Although the flood water is starting to recede, it is still extremely unsafe and would ask any members of the public not to walk or travel through any flood water”. “Cumbria police would like to urge the people of Glenridding to stay inside their properties to keep themselves and their families safe”, police said. The Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund 2015 is created to assist any individuals or families who suffer financial hardship as a result of the flooding caused by Storm Desmond. The military has been called in to the village to help deliver food and water. Mark Williamson, operations director for Electricity North West, said: “We have now restored power to the vast majority of homes in Cumbria”. Local farmer Joe Taylforth said he witnessed “folk holding hands” as they attempted to get out of their flood-ridden homes and businesses adjacent to the river. “This community is strong and will pull together again to make sure everything returns to normal as quickly as possible”. Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “It is hard to assess the scale of the need, but we know that the flooding will cause significant financial hardship and emotional distress”. John Bibby, 36, feared he would not be able to get wife Katharine to hospital because the Backbarrow bridge was destroyed and the only other road was under 3ft of water. The video shows the hugely swollen River Eamont rushing past the remains of Pooley Bridge following its collapse. He said work done after floods six years ago was not enough to help when the latest rain hit. This morning Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, described the situation as “absolutely horrendous” and said lessons must be learnt. There are reports that the water is 3ft deep in places, after flood defences were overtopped in two places. “They definitely need to do some upstream flooding rather than just waiting for it all to come down”. “Events like this serve as a harsh reminder of the finite capacity of our flood defences, and the destructive impact extreme flooding has on our communities”, says Professor David Balmforth, Flood Expert and Past President of the Institution of Civil Engineers. The Glenridding Hotel was under water again prompting the owners to issue an online appeal for people to bring sandbags to help cope with the problem.




Storm Desmond claims its THIRD victim: Pensioner, 70, hit by sign blown over in high winds dies in hospital – as new aerial pictures show the awesome scale of the floods that have hit Cumbria

  • Pensioner, 70, has become the third person to die from Storm Desmond after he was hit by a falling sign in Berwick 
  • Residents of Cumbrian village Glenridding are facing further torment after flooding hit the region for a second time
  • As homeowners began huge clean-up operation from weekend’s floods, nearby River Beck broke its banks again
  • Police warning residents to stay indoors amid fears floods could ‘endanger lives’ and homes remain without power
  • The Met Office has also issued a weather warning about the risk of snow in parts of northern England on Saturday 
  • George Osborne has announced additional £51million to support households and businesses affected by flooding
  • The Mail has launched an appeal to help those affected by the floods. See the information below on how to donate

A 70-year-old man has become the third person to die because of Storm Desmond after he suffered fatal injuries when he was hit by a falling sign which was blown over in high winds.

The pensioner was struck by the sign as he walked along a street in Berwick, Northumberland, as more than 13.5 inches of rain lashed the region on Saturday – bringing widespread flooding which has devastated entire communities.

He was taken to hospital but police today confirmed he died from his injuries last night, making him the third person to be killed as a result of the storm.

It comes after Ernie Crouch, 90, died when he was blown into the side of a moving bus by strong winds near Finchley Central Tube station in London on Saturday, and the body of a 78-year-old man was recovered after he fell into fast-flowing floodwater in the swollen River Kent in Kendal, .

Meanwhile, incredible aerial photographs taken today show the vast extent of the flooding which forced thousands of people out of their homes and left a wake of deluge and devastation.

The images show how much of Carlisle remains besieged by floodwater more than five days on from the record rainfalls which saw the worst flooding across the region in decades.


Incredible aerial photographs taken today show the vast extent of the flooding which forced thousands of people out of their homes in Carlisle and left a wake of devastation after Storm Desmond brought record amount of rainfalls including 13.5 inches in just 24 hours

Incredible aerial photographs taken today show the vast extent of the flooding which forced thousands of people out of their homes in Carlisle and left a wake of devastation after Storm Desmond brought record amount of rainfalls including 13.5 inches in just 24 hours

These aerial photos show how Carlisle United Football Club's ground has finally dried out after being besieged by waist-high floodwater 

These aerial photos show how Carlisle United Football Club’s ground has finally dried out after being besieged by waist-high floodwater



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The stunning cascade is believed to be England’s highest waterfall – while it lasts

Storm Desmond has brought a waterfall back to life at a famous beauty spot for the first time in living memory.

While they last, the falls at Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales are believed to be the highest in England, thundering off a cliff 260ft (80m high).

Local residents and tourists gathered on Sunday to see the phenomenon, which is believed to be the first time the falls have flowed in hundreds of years.

Don’t look down!! Malham Cove with waterfall

Malham Cove in Yorkshire.. With water pouring over for the first time in living memory (apparently!).

Stu Gledhill, who filmed the scene, wrote on YouTube: “Talking to two neighbours who are both around 80 and have both lived in Malhamdale all their lives.

“They have never seen this happen before, and some suggestions are that it could be nearly 200 years since it was last recorded.”


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Storm Desmond: Hundreds made homeless by record-breaking rainfall as 46 severe flood warnings put in place

Figures suggest more than 340mm of rain fell in 24 hours
  • Kate Ng
  • Monday 7 December 2015A rescue team helps to evacuate people from their homes after Storm Desmond floods Carlisle A rescue team helps to evacuate people from their homes after Storm Desmond floods Carlisle Getty

Hundreds of people have been made homeless and thousands more left without power by Storm Desmond, which is thought to have broken the rainfall record set in 2009.

46 severe flood warnings remain in place in north-west England, where Cumbria was declared a major incident.

The army has been drafted in to help evacuate people from their homes and rescue those stranded after the river Eden burst its banks at Appleby-in-Westmorland, sweeping away bridges and sinking some properties under a metre of water.

About 350 soldiers were dispatched from the 2nd Battalion the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment to Carlisle, one of the worst affected towns. A Chinook helicopter and mountain rescue teams were also sent out to assist victims.

11,000 homes in Lancaster have had electricity restored, with 44,000 more expected to have power back by Monday evening.

According to the BBC, provisional figures suggest more than 340mm of rain fell in 24 hours in the Lake District, breaking the record of 316.4mm previously held by Seathwaite, Cumbria, in 2009.


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STORMS UPDATE: Army drafted in to deal with Storm Desmond chaos

Crook O Lune near Lancaster

Crook O Lune near Lancaster

16:42Sunday 06 December 2015 12:43Saturday 05 December 2015

The extent of the devastating flooding from the torrential rain and gale force winds that have hit Lancashire in the last 36 hours is being revealed.

Army trucks have been stationed at a hospital in Lancaster to act as ambulances after flooding cut the city off from the power grid and blocked all but one access route.

Crook O Lune near Lancaster

Crook O Lune near Lancaster

The hospital has also cancelled all non-emergency operations tomorrow and a number of clinics as emergency services struggle to deal with the scale of the incident.

The north of the county – in particular Lancaster and surrounding areas – has been by far the worst hit.

From domestic electrical faults to people stuck in cars in flood water, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service has been inundated with calls for help.

A spokesperson for the service said this morning: “In the last 24 hours we’ve had approximately 300 calls, and we’ve attended probably 200 incidents.



Storm Desmond: Homes flooded and thousands without power

  • 6 December 2015

Tens of thousands of homes are without power after Storm Desmond caused severe flooding and travel disruption across northern England and parts of Scotland.

Power at about 55,000 homes could be off for “days” following flooding at an electricity substation in Lancaster.

The Army has been evacuating homes in Cumbria and nearly 50 severe flood warnings remain in place.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the government was doing all it can to help people and prevent further damage.

Mr Cameron will chair a meeting of the Cobra contingencies committee on Monday to co-ordinate the emergency response.

“I would like to pay a huge tribute to all those emergency workers and troops who have worked tirelessly to respond to this weekend’s events,” he said.

“There has been a tremendous response from local communities too, with people taking in families affected by the flooding.”


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Storm Desmond: Weather sees police declare major incident as severe flooding and 80mph winds lash UK

One man dies as extreme conditions cause homes to be evacuated, disrupt trains and strand drivers

Storm Desmond has lashed large areas of England and Scotland as severe flooding and winds of up 80mph caused police to declare a major incident.

More than 30 severe storm warnings – indicating danger to life – were issued in Cumbria and Northumberland, and two severe storm alerts were issued in south-west Scotland as heavy rain continued well into Sunday.

Homes in the Cumbrian towns of Appleby and Keswick were evacuated and drivers were rescued from stranded cars as flood waters breached defences, submerged streets and disrupted road and rail services.

In London, a 90-year-old man died near Finchley Central station after he was blown into the side of a moving bus by a gust of wind.

The storm also caused disruption in north Wales, Northern Ireland and North Yorkshire, where thousands of homes were left without electricity.


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At least 14 dead as storms & ice wreak havoc across US Midwest

© James Glover
Storms in the US Midwest have claimed at least 14 lives as temperatures plunged below freezing point over the holiday weekend. Tens of thousands of homes have been left without electricity, while driving conditions are treacherous due to icy roads.

A wintry storm system that has been moving through parts of the Great Plains and the Midwest since Thursday has brought extremely cold weather to the region. Eight people have lost their lives in Texas, with a further six dying in the state of Kansas.

The icy conditions are also causing havoc for local residents. Some 78,000 people in parts of Oklahoma have been left without power after trees collapsed onto power lines, according to Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co.


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  • By Slma Shelbayah and Kimberly Hutcherson CNN

    10 dead as wintry storm hits Plains

    Millions under winter weather, flood warnings

    UPDATED 4:59 PM CST Nov 29, 2015
    OK ice storm 11.29.15

    (CNN) —The governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin, has declared a state of emergency for her state, according to KOCO.

This follows an ice storm and flooding that has knocked out power for thousands of people throughout the state.

Meanhwhile, flooding and wintry precipitation have led to at least 10 deaths in Texas and Kansas as a storm system moves across the central Plains, authorities reported.

Five people died in single-vehicle accidents in Kansas, according to Lt. Adam Winters with the state’s Highway Patrol. He said all of the accidents could be attributed to black ice or hazardous road conditions.

Flooding claimed at least three lives in the Dallas area. The victims include a man in Garland, northeast of Dallas. Benjamin Floyd, 29, was on his way to work when raging floodwaters swept his car off the road, according to CNN affiliate KTVT. He was unable to get out of his vehicle before it was submerged Friday, Garland city officials said.

The two other flooding deaths came in Johnson County, south of Fort Worth, county emergency management officials said.

The National Weather Service reported ice storms in the Texas Panhandle. Three people died in a road accident on Interstate 40 about 45 miles west of Amarillo, the weather service reported.



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Total Croatia News

First Snow of the Winter Season Causing Problems in Croatia

By , 22 Nov 2015, 15:50 PM News

Keep those summer beach memories close to hand – the first winter snow is here.

Almost the entire Lika region was caught in snowy weather last night. In Gospić, more than 30 centimetres of snow has fallen, while in mountainous areas the snow cover is even higher. Snow has caused the falling down of many trees which have damaged electrical lines, so the wider area of ​​Gospić was without power this morning. Director of Elektrolika Ernest Petri said that two transmission lines that supply electricity to Gospić have broken down. There are problems with the local phone lines as well, reports and Vecernji List on November 22, 2015.

Snow and strong winds are causing traffic problems in the Primorje region. The Lika-Senj Police Department has announced that the Adriatic highway from Karlobag to Sveta Marija Magdalena is completely closed down, and on all the roads in Lika winter tyres are mandatory.


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By Associated Press Reporter


Utility crews restored power to thousands of Pennsylvania homes Saturday and early Sunday, yet some customers in the dark for days after a tree-snapping ice storm may not regain power until early next week.

About 78,000 customers in Pennsylvania and Maryland remained without power early Sunday, and faced the prospect of yet another day without electric heat or light.

The majority of them are in the Philadelphia area, with utility PECO reporting about 77,500 outages, as of 1 a.m., down from about 155,000 earlier Saturday.

Frozen: About 78,000 customers in Pennsylvania and Maryland are still without power, and faced the prospect of yet another day without electric heat or light.

Frozen: About 78,000 customers in Pennsylvania and Maryland are still without power, and faced the prospect of yet another day without electric heat or light.

Snowed in: More than 1 million customers lost power at the ice storm's peak

Snowed in: More than 1 million customers lost power at the ice storm’s peak

The latest outages include nearly 39,000 customers in hard-hit Chester County, or more than one in five customers.

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Storm cuts power, snarls traffic as ice grips Pa.

By RON TODT and MARK SCOLFORO, Associated Press : February 5, 2014 : Updated: February 5, 2014 4:06pm

Photo By Matt Rourke/AP
1 of 6
A downed tree covered in ice lays atop a minivan after a winter storm Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, in Philadelphia. Icy conditions have knocked out power to more than 200,000 electric customers in southeastern Pennsylvania and prompted school and legislative delays as well as speed reductions on major roadways.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A coating of ice and slush took down power lines and trees, closed schools and snarled traffic in Pennsylvania on Wednesday, the latest insult in what has been a long winter of weather-related injury.

About 750,000 customers were without power, Gov. Tom Corbett said in a briefing in the headquarters of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency outside Harrisburg.

“People are going to have to have some patience at this point,” Corbett said, warning that an overnight refreeze could cause more problems on the roads Thursday.

PECO, which was working to restore power to more than 500,000 customers Wednesday afternoon, warned that it could take until the weekend for some people get their electricity back.

The storm piled up to a foot of new powder along the state’s northern tier and coated the southeastern quadrant with a layer of ice that gave trees a picturesque, frosty sheen but brought down limbs and trees from Gettysburg to Philadelphia.

Long stretches of the Pennsylvania Turnpike were under speed and trailer restrictions all morning, but those rules were lifted as the weather warmed and some melting began.

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Lights out for 1M as winter storm slams Northeast

Posted: Feb 04, 2014 11:30 PM CST Updated: Feb 05, 2014 3:52 PM CST

By The Associated Press

Winter-weary residents of the Northeast contended with another dose of snow, sleet and freezing rain Wednesday. The second winter storm of the week canceled classes, closed government and business offices, and caused more than 1 million power outages across the region after wreaking similar havoc in the Midwest on Tuesday. Around a foot of snow fell in some states. Combined with freezing rain and sleet, the snow made driving treacherous. The storm was the second go-round for the Northeast since a good coating of snow fell Monday.


Ice and snow brought down trees and limbs and knocked out power to some 750,000 customers. Most of the outages were in the Philadelphia suburbs, and PECO, the major utility company, warned it could be the weekend before some people get their lights back on. The Pennsylvania Turnpike was closed around Harrisburg, the state capital, for more than 13 hours after a fatal crash Tuesday night. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Administration reported delays and some cancellations on suburban Philadelphia routes, while Amtrak suspended its Philadelphia-to-Harrisburg service indefinitely because of downed trees on wires and along tracks. Many schools were closed.


Up to a foot of snow fell in places upstate; hundreds of schools upstate were closed. Four inches of snow and a quarter-inch of ice covered New York City. The state deployed 3,500 tons of stockpiled road salt to New York City, where supplies were running low, while plows and other heavy equipment aimed to keep roads clear. A 65-mile stretch of Interstate 84 between the Pennsylvania and Connecticut borders was closed to all vehicles until mid-afternoon. The Metropolitan Transit Authority said Metro-North Railroad service was reduced by 18 percent on morning trains.


Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency and state offices were closed for non-essential employees, as the state got snow in northern parts, sleet and freezing rain in some areas, and all rain in southern counties. Tens of thousands of customers were without power, and schools were closed or delayed. NJ Transit operated on a storm schedule. Buses and trains were cross-honoring tickets.


The state received more than 6 inches of snow in some areas, snarling traffic and keeping towing operators busy. AAA Michigan got at least 1,100 calls for service Wednesday morning. Authorities reported several multi-vehicle crashes after snow fell along Interstate 94 in the Jackson area; traffic accidents closed parts of Interstate 69 around Flint. The storm also snarled traffic in southern Michigan, including Detroit. Two planes became stuck on taxiways at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, requiring trucks to push or pull the regional Delta jets to free them.


Most of Ohio was hit with heavy snow and freezing rain, closing hundreds schools and creating extremely hazardous driving conditions. Four to 8 inches of snow fell overnight Tuesday. Many counties declared snow emergencies. “I wish that groundhog would have stayed in its hole,” said Geoff Dunn, who took the bus to his downtown Columbus office. “Finding us six more weeks of winter was not the smart move.” The National Weather Service said most Ohio cities already have seen anywhere from 15 to 30 inches more snow than is normal at this stage of winter because of the frequent winter storms.


A Chicago runner was credited with helping save a man who fell into icy Lake Michigan with his dog. Adam Dominik says he found twine and anchored it around himself while throwing the other end in the water, pulling the man onto nearby rocks. Meanwhile, a skier called 911. Rescuers pulled the man the rest of the way to safety. He was taken to a hospital. Both he and his dog were expected to recover.

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Earth Watch Report

Map of Nevada photo MapofNevada_zpsa39d6540.jpg

Map of Nevada

Extreme Weather USA State of Nevada, Las Vegas Damage level Details


Extreme Weather in USA on Friday, 22 November, 2013 at 08:02 (08:02 AM) UTC.

NV Energy believes weather may have caused three separate power outages in different parts of Las Vegas Thursday. An outage knocked out power for about 885 customers in northwest Las Vegas late Thursday morning. The utility confirmed the outage in the area of Washington Avenue and Torrey Pines Drive. Power, though, was restored by mid-afternoon. NV Energy then reported an outage affecting 79 customers in the area of Third Street and Colorado Avenue just before 2 p.m. Power was restored to the downtown area later in the afternoon. Early on Thursday evening, about 1,000 customers lost power in the area of Charleston Boulevard and Maryland Parkway. Power was restored before 9 p.m.




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NorCal Native·

Published on Oct 29, 2013

American Blackout, a National Geographic program first aired in October 2013, giving a fictional “docudrama” account of a nationwide electrical blackout in the United States, and its severe aftermath. Most of the program is mock “vlogging” by those affected, interspersed with mock “news footage.”


Yes, It was definitely softened up for viewer consumption.

I lived in Florida  through Hurricane Andrew,  Hurricane Wilma and Hurricane Katrina.  The  devastation that took  place   was horrific. It  was like driving through one of those futuristic sci fi movies that  takes place  after a major apocalyptic event.  Everyone in Florida with any  kind of  sense begins to prepare for Hurricane season.  However, their  preps  are  just barely basic because they are  always confident that  everything ill be  alright and the  infrastructure will be repaired  relatively quickly.  After Hurricane Andrew we  were  without  electricity for 2 weeks. Considering the major destruction took  place in  East  Everglades which  does not have  a large population.  But the  grid was compromised by  tornadoes that  were  spawned and the massive  winds.  Hurricane Wilma  hit  the  southernmost  tip of Florida went out into the gulf and did an about face just as it  was arriving in Mexico.  Heading straight for the middle of Florida  which barely  ever sees hurricanes and people there  were not prepared.  The  damage was unreal as there  are many who live in mobile homes on  land they  have purchased.  The  grid  in  Central Florida  was  down for 3 to 4 weeks and   South Florida was  in the dark for 1 to 2 weeks.

When Hurricane Katrina hit us it was full on in South Florida.  We were without  electricity for  4 weeks.  in less than a week you  could not find charcoal to cook outdoors.  While one may  be prepared with  food  that  one can  cook or that  needs to be warmed up in someway. Without fuel to make a fire one is out of luck.  And Gas runs out  eventually.   Even if one  had  a  large  supply  of  freeze dried foods that  only  require water  not necessarily  hot  if  you  have time to wait for the re-hydration process using cool water.   If  you  cannot find bottled or  potable water. Or do not have the  money  to  be  able to purchase it  , IF there  are  still any  bottles available on the  shelves.  How would you  make water  drinkable without a fire ?

Unless you have  an  expensive   filtration system,  or you understand the  use of a Fresnel set up or  have a reliable solar oven.  There   really  is  no way  to purify  water without chemicals.

We were lucky  enough  to  have a  yard with  fruit  trees that  provided  wood for  our  fire.  So the kids  had  their job and I  had mine.  They  collected all the  wood they  could find and place it in a large 55 gallon container I  had in the  shed out  back and I built the  fires, cooked the  food  and boiled  the water.  Had I  not had a yard with  fruit trees  that  provided  us  with  wood I  would have  had to find an alternative to survive.

I even had a  deep freezer that I  converted into a giant cooler by going out as soon as  possible  and get  as many  bags of ice  as I  could buy.  The  great  insulation of that  freezer turned the  cool from the ice into a good size  fridge.  Our food  did not spoil.  So  my  only concern was fuel for our fire.  I  had prepared for everything else.  we  even  had a small generator  I  had purchased

Now  I  share this with  you , because  it was a fairly isolated  incident.  Florida was affected but it’s  neighboring states were  not , so helped arrived for those who had not prepared  within  days.  Murders, looting and overall crime were  bad only  in  areas with high population density and of course  criminal element.  But  we knew that  it  was only Florida  that  was affected  and help would come.  It was not a situation of total devastation  like  the one used in this film.

I  guess what  I  am trying to relay to all of you is  that in my  experience the reality  will be a much longer  period  of time without infrastructure. A lot  more people unprepared for such a long period of time without food  or water.  In certain cases  depending on the  scenario  it  could take years for the grid  to be  back up and  running.

In Major cities , well,  just look at  what  happens in a blackout that   only  lasts 24 hours in  NY.  I  have lived there as well.  The  city  descends  into chaos unless you live  in a  neighborhood where  everyone is  close and watches out for each other ,you are  at the mercy  of the  gangs and those who did not prepare  who want  what  you  have.

~Desert Rose~


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As Worries Over the Power Grid Rise, a Drill Will Simulate a Knockout Blow


Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

New York City during a blackout in 2003. More than 150 companies and groups will take part in a drill that will simulate attacks on the power grid.




WASHINGTON — The electric grid, as government and private experts describe it, is the glass jaw of American industry. If an adversary lands a knockout blow, they fear, it could black out vast areas of the continent for weeks; interrupt supplies of water, gasoline, diesel fuel and fresh food; shut down communications; and create disruptions of a scale that was only hinted at by Hurricane Sandy and the attacks of Sept. 11.


This is why thousands of utility workers, business executives, National Guard officers, F.B.I. antiterrorism experts and officials from government agencies in the United States, Canada and Mexico are preparing for an emergency drill in November that will simulate physical attacks and cyberattacks that could take down large sections of the power grid.

They will practice for a crisis unlike anything the real grid has ever seen, and more than 150 companies and organizations have signed up to participate.

“This is different from a hurricane that hits X, Y and Z counties in the Southeast and they have a loss of power for three or four days,” said the official in charge of the drill, Brian M. Harrell of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, known as NERC. “We really want to go beyond that.”

One goal of the drill, called GridEx II, is to explore how governments would react as the loss of the grid crippled the supply chain for everyday necessities.

“If we fail at electricity, we’re going to fail miserably,” Curt Hébert, a former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said at a recent conference held by the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Mr. Harrell said that previous exercises were based on the expectation that electricity “would be up and running relatively quick” after an attack.

Now, he said, the goal is to “educate the federal government on what their expectations should or shouldn’t be.” The industry held a smaller exercise two years ago in which 75 utilities, companies and agencies participated, but this one will be vastly expanded and will be carried out in a more anxious mood.

Most of the participants will join the exercise from their workplaces, with NERC, in Washington, announcing successive failures. One example, organizers say, is a substation break-in that officials initially think is an attempt to steal copper. But instead, the intruder uses a USB drive to upload a virus into a computer network.

The drill is part of a give-and-take in the past few years between the government and utilities that has exposed the difficulties of securing the electric system.

The grid is essential for almost everything, but it is mostly controlled by investor-owned companies or municipal or regional agencies. Ninety-nine percent of military facilities rely on commercial power, according to the White House.

The utilities play down their abilities, in comparison with the government’s. “They have the intelligence operation, the standing army, the three-letter agencies,” said Scott Aaronson, senior director of national security policy at the Edison Electric Institute, the trade association of investor-owned utilities. “We have the grid operations expertise.”

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