Friday, July 25, 2014

Didn't even know we dodged a bullet, did you?

Apparently, 2 years ago, we narrowly (by like a week) missed having our electrical infrastructure fried by another "Carrington event"

Thing is, you don't realize exactly how much of your daily life would be affected were the electrical grid to fail due to a solar storm. No Food after about a week. No gasoline for your generator (if you have one)....no money (you get paid with, and pay your bills via electronic money...If the bank has no electricity to power the computers, they can neither make withdrawals OR deposits. You paycheck is just so much paper for them......Your Visa card, ATM card and your debit card are just pieces of plastic...... The store where you get food has no registers, and no inventory control, so they don't have any idea what to order, and the distribution warehouse isn't getting either new shipments nor making any shipments because they can't keep track of what goes where nor what they have in inventory.....and there isn't any fuel for the trucks to deliver because fuel is moved through the pipeline and pumped to the truck by.....electricity. (Not to mention the fact that the billing for the fuel is also electronic, which ain't working either.

The internet? Seriously. not there right now. House phones? Maybe, but unlikely. For sure no long distance. Cell phone network? Maybe, but probably not....besides, you can't charge your phone anyway, so what does it matter?

Heat and air conditioning might matter depending on when it happens. But it won't matter after a few weeks because you are gonna likely be too hungry to care. And thirsty too, because you either get your drinking and flushing water from either a municipal water supply (electric drives those pumps) or a private well (electricity again) The sewers are backed up if you live in a city anyway, so you will probably want to move out after a few weeks, but where to?

Yeah, we ans a nation will recover...but it'll take about 2 years. Maybe more. And that assumes that the folks who supply those transformers and switchgear are still able begin making replacements immediately and don't have infrastructure issues of their own.

Got food for your household a few months? (I do). Got fuel for your generator for at least that long? (I do, if I ration very carefully). Can you heat your house in the winter without power? (I can, but it won't be pretty or comfortable).

Think about it. Be glad that it missed us and we didn't even know it.  If it had hit, a lot of people would have died in the first 6 months.

You can prepare for this, up to a point. but only to a point. After enough time passes, you are living like your great great great great grandparents did, except that they knew how to live like that and you will have to learn....quickly.

3 comments:

3boxesofbs said...

This is one of the major worries I have and why I am trying to get better prepared.

A minor CME would cause considerable difficulty; a major one would be life altering as you say.


Bob S.

Old NFO said...

Actually I did, because I work with folks that were watching (and hoping it missed)...

Murphy's Law said...

IN the long run I think we'd be better off, because an event like that would weed out countless second-handers and the ones left who make it would be a better stock of people more suited towards rebuilding a great nation. The dogs and I would be good here for a few months on our stored supplies and so would be some of my neighbors. We'd weather it just fine.