The Imminent ‘Global Catastrophe’ No One Sees Coming

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Kim Jon Un

The world has been focused on the threat from North Korea in recent weeks, concerned about the reclusive country setting off a traditional nuclear weapon or even an EMP. But there is a more persistent threat out there that we rarely think about – and there’s very little that we can do about it.

It is the sun, and, yes, it can take down the power grid with little warning.

This week’s guest on Off The Grid Radio is Arthur Bradley, a NASA engineer who is an expert on solar storms and disaster preparedness, having authored 15 books on the subject.

The last major solar storm to hit the Earth took place in 1859 – long before the power grid was put in place. If such a storm were to hit us now, Bradley says, it would cause a “global catastrophe,” crippling the grid for a year or more and causing millions of deaths.

Even worse: Bradley says we’re “past due” for such a storm.

Bradley also tells us:

  • Why the power grid essentially would be “un-repairable” and down for so long.
  • Whether the grid truly can be hardened to protect it from solar threats.
  • How Earth barely survived a solar storm just five years ago.

If you’re concerned about the future of your family and want to be prepared, then this is one show you don’t want to miss!

BREAKING: G2-Level Solar Storm Slamming Earth; ‘Transformer Damage’ Possible, NOAA Says

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BREAKING: G2-Level Solar Storm Slamming Earth; ‘Transformer Damage’ Possible, NOAA Says

Image source: NASA

BOULDER, Colorado – A moderate to strong geomagnetic solar storm began slamming Earth Tuesday and could last another couple of days, with transformer damage and power grid fluctuations possible, according to NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center.

The storm is a G2 “moderate” storm on NOAA’s 5-level space weather scale, although NOAA warned that periods of G3 “strong” activity could occur.

According to the scale, a G2 storm can cause “weak power grid fluctuations” and if it lasts long enough, “transformer damage.” Additionally, “high-latitude power systems may experience voltage alarms.” A G3 storm can mean that “voltage corrections may be required,” with “false alarms triggered on some protection devices.”

In 1859, a geomagnetic storm that would now be categorized as a G5 hit earth, taking out telegraph systems, which were the most advanced technology of the time. NOAA’s space weather scale says a G5 – if it hit Earth – could lead to the “complete collapse” of the power grid.

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Under the current storm, auroras may be seen as low as New York to Wisconsin to Washington state.

In July 2012, an 1859-type solar storm known as a coronal mass ejection nearly hit Earth.

“Analysts believe that a direct hit by an extreme CME such as the one that missed Earth in July 2012 could cause widespread power blackouts, disabling everything that plugs into a wall socket,” a NASA news report read. “Most people wouldn’t even be able to flush their toilet because urban water supplies largely rely on electric pumps.”

Additionally, “the total economic impact could exceed $2 trillion or 20 times greater than the costs of a Hurricane Katrina. Multi-ton transformers damaged by such a storm might take years to repair.”

Said Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado, “In my view the July 2012 storm was in all respects at least as strong as the 1859 Carrington event. The only difference is, it missed.”

Do you think America’s power grid is ready for an 1859-type event? Share your thoughts in the section below: 

Are You Prepared For Extended Blackouts? Read More Here.

6 Power Grid Problems That Should Terrify You

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6 Power Grid Problems That Should Terrify You

The American culture survives on a lifeline of electrical wires. This power grid crisscrosses the country, bringing electricity to homes, offices, factories, warehouses, farms, traffic lights and even campgrounds. Pretty much everywhere you go, you can count on being able to plug in and have electricity to use.

It’s a good thing we have the grid, as we use it extensively. Pretty much everything we use today requires electricity in one form or another. Our homes, places of businesses, entertainment and shopping are all made possible by electronic devices. Those devices do everything from pump our gas to heat our homes. They bring us information through the Internet and entertainment through our televisions. They keep our food from spoiling and cook it when we’re ready to eat. Without electricity, we could do little that we do today.

Granted, there are non-electrical means of doing many things that we depend on for electricity. Carpenters built homes before having electric power tools. Homemakers cooked food for their families without the array of electric appliances that we use today. Businesses were able to run without computers. But that was years ago. Today, we are dependent on those thin wires, carrying much-needed electricity into our homes and businesses.

It’s clear that damage to the power grid, whether the work of enemies or due to some natural disaster, would be disastrous to our country. According to the report of the congressionally funded EMP Commission, loss of the power grid for one year would result in the death of nine out of every 10 Americans.

Here are six reasons all of us should be concerned about the power grid:

1. The age of the grid.

Our electrical grid is old. Originally designed to last 50 years, many parts have already surpassed that. There are even parts that are about 100 years old. Yet little is being done to replace the aged parts. This has resulted in the American Society of Civil Engineers giving the power grid a D+ for reliability.

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6 Power Grid Problems That Should Terrify You

Image source: NASA

Part of the problem is financial. Currently, the grid needs an estimated trillion dollars worth of repairs and upgrades. Power companies, many of which run on a narrow margin, say they can’t afford to replace aged equipment, so they keep patching it up and using it. This is especially true of the companies who own the oldest equipment.

The other part is governmental. Everything from installing a new power pole to building a nuclear power plant requires an enormous amount of red tape. A wide number of government agencies have their finger in the pie, making the job all that much more complex.

2. Increased blackouts.

According to statistics gathered by the Department of Energy, major blackouts are on the upswing. Incredibly, over the past two decades, blackouts impacting at least 50,000 customers have increased 124 percent, according to DOE data. This is mostly the result of our aging grid; with equipment staying online longer than its programmed life, chances of problems increase.

But we’re not just talking about power plants here. Much of the thousands of miles of wiring that makes up the grid is old, too. The weather takes its toll. Pretty much every major storm leaves people without power, and work crews rushing to make repairs. However, in recent years, those repairs have been larger and have taken longer to accomplish.

3. The war on electricity.

6 Power Grid Problems That Should Terrify You

Image source: Pixabay.com

Most people have heard of President Obama’s war on coal – which Hillary Clinton supports — but the liberal war on power is much older than that. For decades, they’ve been waging a war on nuclear power, claiming that it is dangerous and that it pollutes.

While both of those are true, the reality of it is nowhere near the hype that is used to demonize nuclear power. In fact, it is one of the cleanest forms of power we have. It is also one of the cheapest sources of electrical power there is, mostly due to the fact that there is almost no “fuel” consumed for the huge amount of power that a nuclear power plant can produce.

Yet government agencies, particularly the EPA, have been holding up the works on building new nuclear power plants.

The war on coal compounds this, working to take away our most plentiful means of electrical power production.

4. Risk of an EMP or solar storm.

One of the biggest dangers our power grid faces today is that of an EMP attack or solar storm. A high-altitude EMP, created by a nuclear device exploded 300 miles over the center of the country, could kill the entire grid, as well as destroying the vast majority of our electronics. Almost nothing has been done to prepare for this threat. Additionally, a major solar storm – such as the 1859 one that took out telegraph machines – could wipe out the power grid.

Both North Korea and Iran have publically stated a desire to destroy the United States. North Korea has nuclear bombs and is working hard at improving their missile technology.

Either of these countries, both of which are enemies, could destroy the United States with one EMP explosion, launched from a cargo ship in the Gulf of Mexico. Even with missile technology as simple as the SCUD missile, which dates back to the German V2 rocket at the end of World War II, a large part of the country’s grid could be put out of commission. With two to three simultaneous attacks, using these simple missiles, the entire country would go dark.

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We have no defenses against an EMP – or protection against a solar storm. Some parts of the military are protected, but not even the government is properly protected, let alone the rest of us.

The transformers within the power grid are custom built for each substation, meaning that there is no inventory of replacements. If several are taken out, it could take months to replace them.

5. Possibility of cyber-warfare.

6 Power Grid Problems That Should Terrify You

Image source: Pixabay.com

Every day our power grid is “tickled” by foreign hackers, attempting to infiltrate and find ways of taking control and cutting off our power. The cutting edge of cyber-warfare is in China, with Russia close behind. Our defenses against cyber-attack are weak, something you can be sure our enemies know.

It is believed at the highest levels of our intelligence community that China could shut down our power grid at any time. This has already been done in other countries; one example was when Russia shut down the grid in the Ukraine. If they can do it, you can be sure that China can, as well. They started the idea of cyber-warfare.

6. Direct terrorist attacks against the grid.

It wouldn’t take anything as sophisticated as cyber-warfare or an EMP to take down the grid. In 2014, an attack was conducted on a power substation in San Jose, California. While the perpetrators were never caught, many think this was a practice run for a direct terrorist attack.

In fact, taking out as few as nine critical substations in the country could destroy the entire grid, according to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) report. While the locations of those particular substations are a tightly held secret, our enemies certainly are trying to learn where they are.

What is your reaction? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Are You Prepared For A Downed Grid? Read More Here.

BREAKING: Solar Storm To Hit Earth Tuesday – ‘Power Grid Fluctuations’ Possible

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Solar Storm To Hit Earth Tuesday – ‘Power Grid Fluctuations’ Possible

WASHINGTON – A solar geomagnetic storm capable of producing “power grid fluctuations” is expected to hit earth Tuesday, Aug. 2 in what the government’s NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center is calling a moderate storm.

The storm was sparked by a coronal mass ejection that can be visually seen in a NASA space video.

“Power grid fluctuations can occur. High-latitude power systems may experience voltage alarms,” the NOAA alert read.

The primary impact is expected to be north of 55 degrees latitude, NOAA reported.

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Northern lights may be seen as low as New York, Wisconsin and Washington state, according to NOAA.

On NOAA’s 5-number scale, this one is a G2, which if it is a “long-duration storm” could “cause transformer damage.” A G5 storm, the most severe type, can cause “complete collapse or blackouts,” NOAA says.

The 1859 Carrington Event, which occurred prior to the modern-day electrical grid, was a G5. It rendered telegraph machines – the most advance electronics of the day – unworkable.

Do you believe our power grid is ready for a major solar storm? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Are You Prepared For A Downed Grid? Read More Here.

The 1921 Event That Could Kill 280 Million Americans Today

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The 1921 Event That That Could Kill 280 Million Americans TodayOur sun is a very volatile star, with violent eruptions often occurring without us even knowing it.

Solar storms, defined by NASA as “eruptions of mass and energy from the solar surface, including prominences, flares, sunspots and coronal ejections,” are not a direct threat to us here on Earth’s surface, since our atmosphere serves as a protective shield from the explosions. In fact, most of the time, solar storms go unnoticed on Earth.

However, solar storms have the potential to cripple our power grid and communications technology, and, as a result, bring much of the modern way of life to a standstill. Here’s how:

The most powerful solar storms send coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that contain charged particles out into space. CMEs that strike our atmosphere could cause a disturbance of the Earth’s magnetic field, potentially disrupting satellites, interrupting navigation systems and communications systems and taking out power grids for entire regions.

The biggest solar storm in recorded history was the Carrington Event, named for Richard C. Carrington, who observed and recorded the 1859 solar event. It wiped out telegraph machines and sent auroras – normally only seen in places like Alaska and Canada — as far south as Hawaii, Cuba and even Africa.

These Solar Backup Generators Deliver 4 Times More Power Than Other Models!

Another lesser-known solar superstorm occurred in the 20th century, however, and even though it was long before modern technology, it can give us a glimpse at the devastating effect a solar storm could have on our 21st century lifestyle.

On May 13, 1921, astronomers noted a huge sunspot with an estimated width of 94,000 miles and a length of 21,000 miles on the solar surface. Auroras were observed for the next few evenings across much of Europe, in the Eastern United States and in California.

More significantly, most of the East Coast experienced a communication blackout caused by the solar storm. That morning, the entire signal and switching system of the New York Central Railroad shut down due to current charges from the storm. The event also sparked a fire in the control tower at 57th Street and Park Avenue.

The 1921 Event That That Could Kill 280 Million Americans TodayA telegraph operator reported that his switchboard ignited, causing an entire building to soon become engulfed in flames. A similar report of a fire came from a telephone station in Sweden that morning, and the solar storm affected telephone, telegraph and cable traffic over most of Europe.

What does this 1921 event mean to us today? Aside from being fascinating historically, it portends the dire results of a modern solar storm. The impact of a storm today would be far more severe, considering our dependence on technology for so many aspects of our lives, including paying bills, buying groceries, sending emails and even pumping gas.

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American and European scientists have expressed concern that the plasma cloud from a solar superstorm could wipe out vast electronics networks and technologies, causing unpresented havoc. Without electricity, the entire modern-day financial infrastructure shuts down, as does the delivery system for food.

According to John Kappenman, an engineer at MetaTech Corporation, a California-based science and engineering company, a solar storm on the same level as the so-called Railroad Storm of 1921 would affect 150 million people across North America. Resulting magnetic storm currents also could damage transformers that would affect many others.

In all, losses could exceed $30 billion in lost salaries, spoiled food, business closures and other related effects of a huge solar storm. And those numbers could ratchet up dramatically if outages and other storm-related problems persisted for weeks.

Grid expert and Congressional EMP Commission member Peter Pry said in testimony this summer that a storm on par with the 1921 one “could kill up to 9 of 10 Americans through starvation, disease, and societal collapse” because the grid would be down for so long. That’s more than 280 million people. (Listen to Pry on Off The Grid Radio here.)

Experts agree that we may have only 24 hours warning before a storm collided with Earth. How can we prepare for a disaster? The answer is much the same as you would for any other natural disaster – by stockpiling food, water and other necessities.

In addition, it is wise to keep cash on hand, since banks will be unable to process withdrawals during a massive power outage.

If you would like to know more about solar storms or to monitor solar activity, visit SpaceWeather.com or NASA.gov.

Do you believe America is prepared for a major solar storm? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Are You Ready For Blackouts When The Grid Goes Down? Read More Here.

White House Readying For End Of Modern Civilization?

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In October and without much media coverage, the White House released a 44-page plan intended to prepare the nation for a potential solar storm that could take out the nation’s power grid for months … and end civilization as we know it.

Experts believe it is a matter of “when,” not “if,” such a storm collides with Earth – the last major ones hit in 1859 and 1921, prior to modern technology – but the government has been slow in getting the country ready.

So, is the White House report a step in the right direction?

That’s what we discuss in this week’s edition of Off The Grid Radio with businessman and grid expert Chuck Manto, who is CEO of Instant Access Networks LLC, a consulting and research and development firm that produces solutions for EMP-protected microgrids and equipment shelters for telecommunications networks and data centers. He also leads InfraGard National’s EMP special interest group.

Manto tells us:

  • How a solar storm could doom not just the U.S. but also the world and send us all back to the 1800s.
  • Whether the White House report is more of the same – that is, more studies – or can lead actually to protecting the grid.
  • How Earth nearly suffered a worldwide blackout five years ago – an event that led to the writing of the White House plan.
  • Why he believes a cultural shift is necessary if Americans truly are going to be prepared for a widespread, long-term blackout.

Manto gives us practical advice on how families and local communities can prepare for such a natural disaster. He also tells us how we can get more involved on the issue. If you care about the power grid or just want to be better prepared, this show is for you!

Life After An EMP: What It Will Take To Survive

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Life After An EMP: Why Most Americans Wouldn’t Survive

Image source: Pixabay.com

Of all the possible disasters we face today, an EMP or major solar storm are two of the scariest. Few truly understand how devastating they would be to our way of life. We depend on electricity and electrical devices so much that life would be set back about 100 years, technologically speaking.

An EMP occurs when a nuclear bomb is detonated high above the atmosphere. Since there is nothing to absorb the explosion and convert the energy into blast energy, it all goes out in its original form, as electromagnetic energy. Hitting the atmosphere, that energy is actually amplified, speeding towards the surface of the earth.

Upon arrival at the earth’s surface, all of that electromagnetic energy is absorbed into electrical devices, the power grid and any metal it encounters. That which hits solid-state electronic devices overloads the circuitry, destroying it. Metal can protect those devices, having the effect of a Faraday Cage, but if the electronics are exposed, the EMP will hit them with a surge of power that is too much for them to handle.

The electricity that enters the power grid will flow along the wires, reaching transformers and substations. Many of them will also become fried by the high energy burst traveling through them. But some of the energy will get through. It will then overwhelm surge protectors, destroying any electronics that managed to survive the initial surge because of being protected by metal cases.

These Solar Backup Generators Deliver 4 Times More Power Than Other Models!

A major solar storm would do similar damage to America (and the world), and actually did so in 1859 during what is known as the Carrington Event. It destroyed telegraph machines, the most advanced technology of the time, although Earth has dodged similar solar storms since then. A Carrington-like solar blast nearly hit Earth in 2012. (Recommended: How A Simple Solar Flare Could Doom America – And The World.)

Within seconds of either an EMP or major solar storm, all solid-state electronics and computer-controlled devices will cease working forever. However, that’s not to say that all electronic devices will die. Surprisingly, simple electronics will survive, although there won’t be any power to make them operate. (Recommended: 5 Surprising Items That Will  Survive An ‘End-Of-The-World’ EMP Attack.)

Pretty much all of the infrastructure we depend upon will be destroyed. Airplanes will fall out of the sky, mid-flight. Gas pumps will stop working. The entire electrical power grid will go down. Most of us will be without water, as the pumps and water treatment plants won’t have the electrical energy they need to purify the water and get water to us. All commerce will be on a cash only basis at first, eventually morphing over to a barter system.

Will Anything Be Working?

One of the surprising things that will survive an EMP is solar panels. While the EMP will reduce their efficiency somewhat, it won’t really be enough to make much of a difference. Electric motors will function, too, so wind generators will still work and appliances may still be usable. Of course, with the grid down, the only way they would be usable is if you have your solar panels or a wind turbine to produce power.

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The people who will be the best off after the EMP will be those who live in rural communities, especially rural farming communities. They will have food available to them, even though transporting that food to the cities will be almost impossible.

We will see people dying off from the very beginning. There are a large number of people who depend upon medicines to keep them alive. Without the ability to distribute the medicines, many of those people will pass away once their personal supply of medicine runs out.

The big killers in the aftermath of an EMP will be starvation and hypothermia. This will be the second wave of deaths from the EMP and it will be so enormous that it will make the first wave pale by comparison. Without the ability to transport supplies, cities will become death camps. Those who can escape the city will actually have a better chance than those who stay behind.

Of course, people who have a food stockpile will have a much better chance of survival.

What Can You Do?

Preparing for an EMP is just like preparing for any other disaster, with one major difference. That is … there will be no turning back. As things stand right now, an EMP or major solar storm will be so devastating that it will take decades to recover from, not just years.

You can’t count on a year’s worth of food getting you through the aftermath of an EMP. About the only way you can be sure of surviving is to turn your home into a homestead. You’ll need to produce your own food in order to survive. That means an extensive vegetable garden, as well as raising chickens and other animals for eggs and meat. You will need to produce enough to feed your family for the whole year, not just enough to make it through a few months.

The ability to produce your own electricity could help as well, but only if you have electronic devices hidden away in a Faraday Cage. Make sure that you have a spare charger for your battery backup and a spare voltage inverter as well. Otherwise, those solar panels won’t do a bit of good.

What do you think the aftermath of an EMP will look like? Share your opinion in the section below:

Are Your Ready For Blackouts When The Grid Goes Down? Read More Here.