Tuesday/ squirrel on the line

Squirrels can wreak havoc on power lines, and frequently do so. A squirrel was responsible for an outage on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York in 1987, in 1994 and again in 2014. [Illustration by R. Kikuo Johnson, from a 2013 article in the New York Times].
I was sitting at my desk this morning, when I heard a very loud pop outside my house – BOOF!!
Wow, I thought – maybe a pole-mounted transformer had exploded.
But no, my neighbor just saw a big flash on the power line, and we found a dead squirrel on the ground right there, with its fur scorched.

Squirrels that scamper onto utility poles and power lines, sometimes touch an energized component (the transformer) and a grounded piece of equipment simultaneously, thereby completing the circuit. This does not end well for the poor squirrel – but the short-circuit does not necessarily cause an outage. As soon as the dead squirrel drops to the ground, the interference is eliminated, and the regular flow of electricity should resume.

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