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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

EMPs and Solar Storms…Could we be cast back into the 19th Century?

What just happened? No wind, no clouds in the sky, no warning…no power. An EMP attack will happen without warning and you will be in the dark, literally in less than a second. Local radio and television stations will be off the air. The Internet will be down. Cell phones will not work, land lines may work but only if you have a land line phone that is not portable. The entire world will not be without power but the entire county, state or nation may be.
Exactly what can we expect? No one really knows for sure but there are a few things you can plan on.
Unless you have protected the electronics in your home they will not work.
Many car will be damaged and unable to operate. Many have said that a car is encased in metal so the parts will be protected but we need to remember that in order to be truly 100% protected electronic parts need to be completely surrounded by metal, not so for car parts.
Fuel and public transportation will disappear as fuel pumps will be unable to operate without electricity and should the attack occur near refineries they will be unable to process fuel.
Food will disappear quickly from store shelves as people become frightened and restocking of shelves will become impossible due to lack of transportation.
Drinking water may disappear quickly, especially in the large cities, as treatment facilities will be without power. There will be water in the system but those who are uninformed will continue to turn on the tap and flush toilets and soon the reserve will be gone.
Civil unrest will occur. As people become frightened and store shelves are empty, and they become hungry, people will resort to force. Restaurants and other places seen to have supplies of food on hand will be raided and trucks already on the road who are delivering food and other necessities will be hijacked.
Hospitals will close as there will be no replacement medications and supplies arriving. This would not happen immediately but after a few weeks.
Mail and newspaper deliveries will halt.
Jobs will disappear and paychecks cease. Of course this may not matter much because the banks and stores will be closed so there will be no place to cash checks or spend money.
Now all of this is a worse case scenario and hopefully it will never happen. If we do experience an attack hopefully it will be a small one and within a few weeks neighboring states will be able to bring in supplies and equipment to get the infrastructure back up.
There are things we can do now to help us to prepare for a worst and best case scenario. As we consider an EMP attack we must understand that we are not preparing for a specific disaster but for a self reliant lifestyle which will enable us to survive any and all challenges we are faced with. There are a few things to think about that are specific to an EMP but most preparations are just repeats of what we already know and hopefully are doing.
We haven’t talked about solar flares which most scientists consider a growing threat. A solar flare may also cause a loss of electricity and these effects could be world wide. Solar storms would primarily affect the power grid, and are not likely to harm things like computers. Solar storms would only disrupt communications temporarily, and would not be likely to cause direct harm to communications equipment except for satellites which are outside of the protection of the earth’s atmosphere. An extremely large solar storm could create currents that would destroy a number of the large transformers on the power grid, again this could be world wide. If this should happen electric power could be out in some areas for a period of years.
The last solar storm that could have caused this level of damage happened in 1859, before the power grid was in place. A smaller solar storm occurred in 1921 which did wipe out much of the power grid at the time. We have not had a large solar storm since the modern grid has been in place. The grid is very fragile when considering a solar storm and is not protected against one.
Just as with a devastating earthquake in California it is not a matter of if but when another large storm will happen. Many scientists believe conditions are ripe for one within the next two years.
While communications may be better after a solar storm with the gird destroyed all of the other scenarios we discussed after an EMP attack will be in play. There will be a lack of food and clean water, a damaged transportation system, banks closed, jobs gone, anything that is dependent on electricity could be lost to us for a time.
We are not crazy or paranoid to be discussing these possibilities. We are just trying to be as well informed as possible so we can deal with anything that is thrown our way. Just imagine how different the outcome could have been after the 1906 earthquake in San Fransisco if people had been prepared. Did you know that there were those in the fire department who tried to get city officials to put in a better water delivery system in case of a city wide fire. The plan was being implemented but few believed the risk was real and inferior materials were used, because those in charge saw a way to make money. When the earthquake and resulting fires happened the water was turned on but the system failed and the city burned.
Next week we will being discussing the specific ways in which we should prepare to return to life as it was for our pioneer fore fathers, just in case…
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