Article – Meet the Preppers Who Are Ready for the Next Massive Solar Storm

Hurricanes and blizzards are petty trifles compared with the weather phenomenon that troubles apocalypse preppers: They’re worried about a giant electromagnetic storm wiping out all technology.

It’s an unlikely scenario — a massive solar storm strikes only about once every 500 years — but if the Earth was hit by one, power grids across the world could be permanently fried. “Frankly, this could be one of the most severe natural disasters that the country, and major portions of the world, could face,” renowned space weather consultant John Kappenman told Gizmodo.

How would we survive the space storm? To find out, I spoke with individuals already prepping for the technopocalypse, and engineers hoping to fortify our infrastructure against it.

I would imagine that if you’re in the ‘Lights Out’/EMP camp, you’re pretty much already set up for this sort of thing.

I must say, if the EMP doomists are correct about the effects and methods of generating a nation-crippling EMP attack it would seem a remarkably cost-effective way to drop a nation into the 19th century. You buy a surplus Soviet nuke, strap it into the back of a private plane, fly it over the heartland, and press a button. Assuming, of course, that the scientists and theorists are correct about that sort of thing….since it’s never actually been done on any large scale.

I would think, though, that if there’s really some validity to it the .gov would have a stack of EMP-generating nukes specifically designed for the task. Maybe they do, who can say?

I do recall there have been a few solar event over the last couple decades that did wind up throwing a monkey wrench into things on a smaller scale…ATM networks, phone systems, etc, but nothing along the lines of planes-falling-from-the-sky like we’ve been led to believe. That’s not to say it couldn’t happen that way, just that so far it hasn’t.

Personally, my vision of the apocalypse doesn’t include this sort of thing. However, if it does happen, I’d still be pretty well squared away just by virtue of the ‘general’ level of preparedness I try to keep going. There’s enough ‘crossover’ in preparing for ‘X’ that you wind up being covered for 80% of ‘Y”.

Still and all, an interesting article. It’s always illuminating to read about how others prepare for various events.

11 thoughts on “Article – Meet the Preppers Who Are Ready for the Next Massive Solar Storm

  1. Exactly! Since we don’t *know* what calamity will befall us, let’s cover what we can.
    That food you have stored can be eaten during EMP disaster, financial collapse, Chinese invasion, or the Great North American Reset.
    Same for medical supplies and water; fuel and tools.
    Gold? Maybe, maybe not. Look on it as a supplemental insurance; covering the gap between disasters.

    Hope all is well with you, CZ.

  2. “….since it’s never actually been done on any large scale.”. I seem to recall hearing about the Soviets experimenting with this back in the 1960s. I read they inadvertently ‘fragged’ themselves in Kazakhstan with an EMP device. Dropped the entire electrical grid for an entire region in the USSR. The Soviets never acknowledged what happened of course, and the CIA was baffled for years as to why the southwestern USSR went dark for several days. It was apparently much more effective than they ever imagined.

  3. just finished Ted Koppels book lights out. Covers how screwed up the federal gov is in the field of cyber attack on the grid. If it was the sun trying to smack us there would be a few hours to prepare certain things inside a faraday box/cage. Cyber, almost instantaneous … Good book too.

  4. It is a little harder than getting/stealing a plane. Nuclear EMP effects are extremely sensitive to the altitude – to get the maximum EMP one would need to get ~300 miles above the surface or roughly the altitude of the space station. An airplane would get the blast in the range of 5-8 miles in altitude; maybe a couple more – this would have an EMP effect range of maybe 30-50 miles at best. Problematic for that radius with real economic problems if certain cities like NYC were targeted but not the kill 90% scenario from the worst case EMP. For that you need a ballistic missile like a higher-end SCUD.

    • +1 to what the Dr said.

      Also the “high-jacking a nuke” scenario would be a big deal in and of itself, but for the nation killing effects of a high energy EMP, you are looking at a megaton or more weapon.

    • Hmm…I wonder if one of those high-altitude balloons that you see people using to launch GoPros into the atmosphere would get you the required altitude.

      • If you can push upwards of 200-300 miles on it… and lift the payload (I believe one of the lightest megaton weapons the US built was on the order of 700 lbs) then in theory… yes.

      • High altitude balloons get to 60,000 to 120,000 ft (11 to 23 miles) in altitude. This is high enough to generate a nasty regional EMP (e.g. knock out power for a several hundred mile radius) but still not high enough to get a national (or even a major section) impact.

        Also, you do not need megatons. You need a nuclear detonation at the right altitude. Even a 1.7 Kt weapons test in the late 1950s caused a lot of EMP. However, the greater the yield the better.

        In a nuclear war scenario, I would assume multiple EMP detonations (e.g. east coast, gulf coast, west coast, Hawaii, Alaska, and middle of country) if you are dealing with a nuclear power BUT this scenario would almost certainly include dozens to hundreds of ground or low altitude air bursts.

      • Weight becomes an issue fast. The materials weigh a lot, and even a very low yield backpack nuke (2-6kt) weighs about 100 pounds. And that yield doesn’t get you a lot of EMP. Airplanes for amateurs (terrorists), ballistic missiles for the pros.

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