It's no surprise to reader of UrbanSurvivalSkills.com that I am a big fan of the International Forecaster and especially Bob Rinear. This article reminds us of the potential Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) threat. This was brought home to me two days ago after a hellacious thunder storm left us without power and even the cellular system was messed up. An EMP event would make this basically permanent. So hopefully, part of your survival plan address a no warning and immediate grid outage. What are you doing to do?
The EMP Issue, by Bob Rinear, The International Forecaster, Wednesday 5 August 2015
On Sunday I wrote a piece called “Fear Porn”, and it was the first of two articles I wanted to write for a long time, but “things” got in the way. The first article was about the concept of our entire lives now revolving around “the Internet”, and yet the net isn’t as stable as you might think. As I pointed out, your life would be massively disrupted if indeed a terrorist (foreign or domestic) did a massive hack which brought down the routers and pointers of the nets infrastructure.
Not because you couldn’t look at photo’s of your “BFF” showing you his or her breakfast, not because you couldn’t tweet about some terribly unimportant topic…but because we are now at a point where no net…means no transactions. No credit cards, no ATM’s, no phones, no hotel reservations, no “a lot of things”. Given enough time, a nationwide Internet shut down, could very well cause social unrest, deaths, food supply problems, you name it. But the fact is, that’s just the warm up for the real issue. What if our power grid goes down?
I laid out the nightmares we saw during the NYC blackout of 1977 and the Ohio/Northeast blackout of 2004. Robberies, fires, arson, break in’s, looting, shootings, you name it. Ugly stuff, and that was just 1 and 2 day outages. What if something took the grid down for months?
Over the years I’ve looked at different situations wherein the “grid” as we call it (electrical generation and distribution) could be compromised on a wide scale. There’s several things that come to mind, such as network hacking. But the two that get the big attention are Solar burst of energy, and EMP’s. So what’s the real deal here? Can these things do what we’ve been told or not? Let’s look…
EMP stands for Electro-magnetic Pulse. An EMP is a short burst of electromagnetic energy.
Such a pulse may occur in the form of a radiated electric or magnetic field or conducted electric current depending on the source, and may be natural or man-made. Okay, so what’s the big deal?
Well, if the EMP is big enough, it will follow power lines, long cables, grounding straps, and burn up things with a power surge. Anything not “hardened’ against a massive short term burst, simply burns out. Be it computers, TV, phones, hospital equipment, power generators, high voltage lines, etc. Bad stuff.
We have been aware of the “natural” EMP’s that come from the Sun ( and even severe lightening storms) because the sun caused such a “burst” of electro-magnetism in 1859 that telegraph operators were singed around the country as sparks lit up their transmission lines.
Aurorae were seen around the world, those in the northern hemisphere as far south as the Caribbean; those over the Rocky Mountains were so bright that their glow awoke gold miners, who began preparing breakfast because they thought it was morning. People in the northeastern US could read a newspaper by theaurora's light. It was named the Carrington Event.
It was (and still is) the largest recorded geomagnetic storm. If something of that magnitude were to hit today, with the incredible amount of electronics we use each and every day, it would fry tens of millions of devices and plunge us into the dark for MONTHS. In fact, in Ontario Canada on March 13th 1989 a solar storm impacted their area. At 2 am on the 13th the Ontario grid went dark, plunging millions of folks into the dark. No power, no phones, no water pumping (electrical pumps) No Natural gas (electrical pumps) etc.
They found the fried equipment and things were up and running in about 12 hours. But think about that for a second. A solar “Coronal mass ejection” knocked out the power to millions. Yet it was “tiny” compared to the Carrinton event. So problem one with EMP’s is that they can indeed be natural, and another like the 1859 version would indeed take down huge parts of our entire countries power grid.
But we found out in 1962 just how dangerous Man made EMP’s could be. During that year, the US Government decided to test a high altitude nuclear blast. The test was named starfish and took place about a thousand miles from Hawaii on a deserted island. When the bomb went off some 250 miles up in the atmosphere, something quite strange happened. Electrical components on the Islands of Hawaii were blowing up. To quote one of the researchers….
The effects were bizarre and almost entirely unanticipated. One effect was an electromagnetic pulse, but nobody knew it was going to be anywhere nearly as large it proved to be. They had all this data and they didn’t understand very much of it, including the EMPs that had been observed and the effects produced…all kinds of electrical disturbances were seen over 1000 kilometers away in Oahu.
Since then we’ve learned that a large nuclear device that gets detonated in the upper atmosphere could easily wipe out the electrical grid, and darned near anything connected to it. Which instantly brought up the question of its use as a military weapon. In fact there’s no question at all as to whether the US and Russia have experimented with EMP as a weapon and we’re also worried about North Korea ( and some say Iran) Here’s why…
Let’s suppose some rogue nation takes an old scud missile and tips it with a nuclear bomb. They get the thing near our coast on a container ship or what have you and fire it. The next thing you know an entire area of the nation sees its grid go down, and the resulting surges and brownout’s spread through the network. It is not inconceivable that the whole country could go dark. Here is the statement from the 2008 committee on researching EMP attacks…
A single EMP attack may seriously degrade or shut down a large part of the electric power grid in the geographic area of EMP exposure effective instantaneously. There is also the possibility of functional collapse of grids beyond the exposed one, as electrical effects propagate from one region to another…Should significant parts of the electric power infrastructure be lost for any substantial period of time, the Commission believes that the consequences are likely to be catastrophic, and many people may ultimately die for lack of the basic elements necessary to sustain life in dense urban and suburban communities.
Now, depending on whom you wish to listen to, the effects of a well coordinated EMP attack on the US could last for 18 months of “dark” (no electricity) and MILLIONS dead. I could EASILY see that.
As you probably know, my biggest “big picture” scare is that we are 100% reliant on the electrical grid for EVERYTHING. We just expect it to be there because it’s “always there”. Yet what if it wasn’t? Then yes, there would be mass starvation, mass riots, bands of roaming hungry thieves. No question.
I try and keep the “wacko stuff” and the real Fear Porn out of the letters. I’m not a “shock jock” like Howard Stern who gets his listeners from being outrageous. But in this instance, I am not just trying to scare the hell out of you all, I’m trying to expose something that seems to be all-too real. Consider this…
As late as the 1940’s once you got out of town, just about every rural household had a couple chickens in the yard for fresh eggs. They usually had a hand driven well pump and a few minutes of pumping that handle would bring good clean water up from the depths. They probably had a nice veggie garden, and “mom” probably knew how to can their produce for use in the winter months.
Dad and the boys most definitely had a few small game rifles, and knew how to hunt rabbit, squirrel, and deer. They generally had a coal or wood furnace, and knew how to cook over wood instead of electricity or Natgas. Oil lamps and candles made at home were frequent. In a lot of homes in rural America 1940 if the power went down, no one noticed for half the day.
Today that very situation would be called a “prepper family”. You’d be looked upon as “one of them people”. But the fact is that for about 80% of our citizens, they have NONE of those skills or resources. A chicken coop in modern America? Horror the thought! People get run out of Home owner associations for parking a vehicle in their driveway let alone a chicken coop. A personal water well on your own property? Not today, it’s all about “city water”. Grabbing a .22 and shooting a squirrel for dinner? Perish the thought! The fact is that the typical American is absolutely and totally dependent on the “grid” for survival.
So if you ask me - Bob, what’s your two biggest fears right now? My answer would be a take down of the Electrical Grid first, and a take down of the Internet second. Now do we have any “proof” that either one is coming? Nope, not really. But sometimes you see things that make you think about it.
For example, the Military is moving a lot of its command nodes back into the depths of Cheyenne mountain, a fortified bunker complex deep beneath the granite rocks. Why? Could they be anticipating something like an EMP attack and want to make sure their command and control center is “hardened” against suck a thing? Could be.
I’d like to say I only have two fears about the big picture, but that wouldn’t be truthful. Others on my list are a global monetary reset which I totally believe is coming. A devaluation of our currency which I think is coming. I think were going to get rocked a bit over that when it happens, and frankly it has to happen. Even the wicked Central bankers know that our present system isn’t working.
So “yeah” there’s things that get my attention.
No one wants to live in fear, and I don’t either. But there’s some things that we have very little control over, that have a lot of control over our lives. Power, Internet and global finances come to mind. All 3 of them have the ability to rock our world.