Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, brought to you by the SurviveInPlace.com Urban Survival course. This week is a biggie…we’re going to talk about this week’s solar flare that I briefly mentioned on Tuesday, as why we’re likely to see some BIG solar flares in the next few years and what you need to do to prepare.
You might remember Saddam Hussein threatening to use chemical weapons against both the US and Israel during the first and 2nd Gulf Wars.
You might also remember that we responded to the threat by promising to “respond with overwhelming force and extract a very high price should he be foolish enough to use chemical weapons on United States forces.”
Many thought that this meant dropping a nuke on Iraq and turning the desert to a big pane of glass.
Wile this was definately a possiblity, it’s much more likely that our response would have been for us to use an EMP.
An EMP is an electromagnetic pulse which, in this case, would have been caused by detonating a nuclear bomb 100-300 miles above the Earth’s surface.
Buildings wouldn’t fall down, Geiger counters wouldn’t go off, and people wouldn’t die of radiation poisoning, but the EMP WOULD completely destroy the electrical grid and most unshielded electronic items in Iraq.
Where this gets interesting is that in addition to China and Russia having the ability to attack the US with an EMP, North Korea, Iran, and any terrorist organization with deep pockets can do it as well.
In it’s simplest, most unrefined form, an EMP attack could be done with one of the many small nukes missing from the former Soviet Union placed on a SCUD rocket and launched 12 miles off the East coast from a container ship.
It wouldn’t knock out the entire country, but it wouldn’t need to…our economy is so fragile right now that any hiccup, let alone a major attack, would most likely bring down the whole credit default swap scam, as well as be the final blow to many of our country’s insolvent banks.
How long would it take to recover? Well, it depends on how you define recovery. One of the casualties of an EMP attack would be the transformers that step up and step down voltage along power transmission lines. The power grid as we know it may never recover if several large transformers in the same region failed simultaneously. The transformers used in high voltage transmission weigh from 100 tons up to 300 tons for one transformer manufactured by Siemens. They take a long time to manufacture, they’re expensive, there’s global demand, and they’re very difficult to transport.
It’s somewhat easy for some people to dismiss EMPs. Many simply don’t appreciate how much some people hate the US, our freedoms, our wealth, and our support of Israel. They don’t know us, but they want to kill us. They want us to live the same miserable lives that they live rather than to have individual liberty.
Well, even if you or one of your relatives are in this group who don’t want to face the threats we face from other countries, this week made the threat of EMPs very difficult to ignore.
I wrote a very quick article on Tuesday about this week’s solar flare. These are a big deal, which is why I reference solar flares and their potential to wreck havoc on our way of life every few weeks. This week, we got a harmless wake up call that solar flares/CMEs (Coronal Mass Ejection) DO happen. This one was TINY. If or when the sun has a large solar flare that causes a large coronal mass ejection to come our way, it could be like a series of hundreds of EMPs going off every few minutes for days at a time.
Has it happened? Yes. In 1859, we experienced a CME so strong that telegraph wires shorted out and started fires from coast to coast.
Where an EMP would only damage electronics over a region, a powerful CME would effect the entire planet.
Far fetched? Not really. Unlikely? 400 years of data says an increase in CMEs IS very likely. In fact, here is the chart of solar activity since 1610 from NASA. I link to it at the bottom of this article. You’ll see that there’s a peak every 11 or so years. We were at the bottom of the current cycle in 2008 and are currently on the upswing. The red arrow points to what some experts believe our next upswing will look like…fairly weak in comparison, but strong enough considering our dependence on electronics.
So, while the worst case scenario may not be likely, it IS likely that we will experience several solar flares of varying sizes over the next 1-5 years.
The solar flares could simply cause pretty Northern Lights and bad shortwave propigation, they could cause regional blackouts like what happened in Canada in 1989, it could knock out satellites, or a major CME like the 1859 CME could knock out electronics and our electrical grid.
The only thing is that our infrastructure is MUCH more interdependent and fragile than it was in 1859. Most of the world wasn’t affected by telegraph lines going down, but most of the world WILL be affected by air conditioning, cars, refrigeration, heating systems, communication, and banking simultaneously going down.
So, how do you prepare for this? Well, it depends on where you’re at in your process of preparedness. Some of the advanced things that you can do is to make sure that your house has at least one solid ground. In most areas, this means driving a 1/2″ copper stake 10 feet into the ground, but it could mean burying/driving copper as far as 40 feet into the ground, continually watering your ground rods, or periodically adding minerals to the soil near your ground rod.
I added a second ground rod to our house after we moved in and I put it at the end of a gutter runout that we don’t collect.
If you have a metal shed, you can ground it. If you have a metal safe, you can ground it. You can also create mini poor-man’s Faraday cages out of aluminum foil or mylar.
With an EMP, it’s unlikely that the general public will have any warning of an attack, but with a CME, we’re getting better and better at identifying CMEs and that means that we’ll have between 17 hours (as in 1859) and 3-4 days (as in August, 2010) warning to unplug, shield, and possibly even bury sensitive equipment.
Hold on a second!
Before you go off and spend a bunch of time and money preparing for one specific potential event, make sure you have all of your fundamentals in order. What I mean is that instead of preparing specifically for an EMP/CME, you’re much better off taking steps that will help you prepare for ALL causes of breakdowns in civil order.
I’m talking about having months or years of food on hand, a way to supply yourself and your family with water, shelter, fire, security, and medical skills.
But that’s not all. That stuff won’t do you any good if you’re all alone in a city or if you’ve blabbed about your preparedness to every neighbor within a mile.
You also need to address operational security, disaster/survival psychology, building your mutual aid team, improvised medicine, field expedient ways to up-armor your house, making your house and your family NOT look like a good target, and many of the other important strategies and tactics covered in the SurviveInPlace.com Urban Survival Course.
It sounds like a lot, but the course provides a systematic, proven plan of attack that’s powerful enough for career door kickers to learn from and simple enough so that an 8 year old could survive just about any disaster that man or nature throws at them.
If you haven’t signed up yet, take a look at the complete course description and 80+ student reviews at SurviveInPlace.com. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been preparing for 37 years, I guarantee the course contains valuable tactics and strategies that you haven’t considered…even though you need to.
To learn more, go to SurviveInPlace.com
Stay Safe & God Bless!
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As always, nothing said in this article should be taken as professional advice. It is all the opinion of the author. You could die, get sick, go to jail, lose all your money, or worse if you ever do anything mentioned without consulting a professional.
Here are some more resources you might want to check out to learn more about solar flares, sun spots, and coronal mass ejections.