I had a post some time back about the beginning of groanings regarding solar storms (reference post: You Are My Sunshine). I’ve been doing more research and I personally believe this is worth revisiting. I know more now then I knew back then. To be sure the probability of having a catastrophic event is very low. However, the impact if it occurs would be DEVASTATING. This is a low probability, high impact event. And if you need an illustration to drive home the reality of this. Consider, hypothetically, a rare, deadly disease that occurs in a small (<5) percentage of children (or if you don’t have children, picture yourself). Now imagine that your child has that disease. Do you care anymore that <5% of kids ever get stricken? No, of course you don’t because it’s happening to you!
My point is that if the worst happens, it won’t matter that it wasn’t likely. What will matter is what did you do to prepare?
The major concern is the power grid. Imagine not having power for months or years. Imagine the level of social breakdown that will occur if this nation doesn’t have electricity for that amount of time. Did you know that grocery stores only carry a few days worth of food for the area at a time. We rely on an always moving transportation system to deliver our goods. If we don’t have electricity then we don’t have operating oil refineries and eventually we run out of gas. If we run out of gas, that next shipment of chicken breasts isn’t going to make it to Safeway. And even if it did, they won’t be able to keep it refrigerated and neither can you. Total social breakdown would be inevitable. People will get desperate, just like I’ve discussed in other posts.
Go to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) website and dig around. The government has been looking into and discussing the effect of Electromagnetic Pulses on the national power grid since the 70’s. And they are still discussing it. The problem hasn’t been solved. Check out the attached executive summary, also from ORNL. It is four pages of content and two pages of resources. Of interest are the dates of those resources because although the main paper is undated they are….2010. This paper is recent.