LOOKING BACK: 20 years since the Y2K panic

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It has been 20 years since the turn of the millennium and the panic known by three characters: Y2K.

NORFOLK, Va. — The end of the world.

Now it seems ridiculous. But on January 1, 2000, the world was breathing a huge sigh of relief.

It was right at this time 20 years ago: the panic known as Y2K was at its peak.

Remember that? When the clock struck midnight in 2000, the theory was just about everything technology-related would spin out of control because computer programs couldn’t recognize the new double zeros in the date.

In Hampton Roads, VA, the website www.Y2khamptonroads.com was set up as a collaborative effort by 12 different localities along with health care organizations, utilities, and the military.

It was a place people could go to get all the Y2K information they needed.

There were even toll-free numbers and billboards advertising them.

Some people treated it like a real disaster event and stocked up on essentials like canned food and water as if a hurricane was coming.

RELATED: 20 years since Y2K: What happened to the guy with a bunker of food?

So what ended up happening? Not a lot.

But, to say it was all hype isn’t accurate. Disasters were avoided, but there was potential for serious trouble.

Popular Mechanics just interviewed some of the unsung heroes of the Y2K movement. They include Ivy League professors, software researchers, and computer programmers.

According to them, a network of people worked tirelessly, performing mind-numbing tasks to make sure the world continued to run at the turn of the millennium.

MORE: 20 years since Y2K: How we celebrated and prepared for the new millenium

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