Massive Power Outage Cripples South Florida

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Lissett Montalvo waits for the lights to come back on in her clothing store, after massive outage.

Lissett Montalvo waits for the lights to come back on in her clothing store, after massive power outages struck the Miami area. Joe Raedle/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Elevators stopped, traffic lights darkened and much-needed air conditioners went silent during a massive power outage in South Florida this afternoon. The power outages began shortly after 1 p.m. ET, affecting hundreds of thousands of people. The outages struck the wider Miami area, extending from Boca Raton south to Key West.

Power is now being restored to many residents in South Florida. Officials say as many as three million people across the state were affected.

As NPR's Greg Allen tells Robert Siegel, disabled traffic lights created problems throughout Miami, and several hospitals switched over to emergency power. Officials with Florida Power and Light say the outages began after an electrical substation problem.

The outage was linked to equipment failure in an electrical substation. That, in turn, triggered a cascading effect that resulted in eight power plants shutting down or going off-line. The facilities that closed included nuclear reactors in Homestead, south of Miami. Officials at the Miami-Dade County emergency management center said they were able to monitor the situation fully.

In some areas that have lost power, electricity has already been returned. But because of the cascading nature of the blackouts, power outages were reported as far north as Orlando, Tampa and Daytona.

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