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Power outages due to extreme weather events increasing nationwide: Study

The power grid's vulnerability is exposed during extreme weather events.

HARTFORD, Conn. — More than 2.5 million customers in Florida lost power as Hurricane Ian made landfall last week, trekking across the peninsula.

As of Monday evening, close to 500,000 remain in the dark.

A new analysis from Climate Central shows that weather-related power outages are on the rise.

It’s not just your perception. Major power outages are becoming more common. Extreme weather is often to blame.

RELATED: Climate change and hurricanes

Here in Connecticut, we've had plenty of examples in recent years.

Tropical Storm Isaias – just two years ago – knocked out power to more than 750,000 Connecticut customers. This came close to the widespread outages experienced from the Halloween 2011 snowstorm, which affected more than 800,000 customers, some for nearly two weeks.

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In Connecticut, the weather has been the cause of 55 major power outages since 2000. That’s about 2 to 3 per year.

Credit: Climate Central

RELATED: 11 years later | A look back to the 2011 Halloween snowstorm

Nationwide, 83% of all reported outages in the last two decades are attributed to a weather-related event. Meanwhile, 58% were caused by severe weather, such as thunderstorms or tornadoes. Winter weather, especially ice from freezing rain, caused 22 percent of the outages.

Tropical storms and hurricanes were a smaller fraction of events, around 15 percent, but can affect large areas at once.

Here in Connecticut, the summer drought raised concerns about dead or dying trees, which could fall on powerlines.

Ryan Breton is a meteorologist at FOX61 News. He can be reached at rbreton@fox61.com. Follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


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