This is how it might go down, if and when an impact occurs. Rumor is the first one will hit June 18th to 20th. Location unknown at this time.
We Interrupt This Program...
August 01, 2002: 3:34 Eastern Time
John Horne set down his coffee cup and once again addressed his screen. No matter how many times he recalculated the new budget there wasn't any
escaping the fact that at least one member of the office staff was going to have to be laid off. Resignation washed over him and he clicked the
"save" icon like he was signing a figurative death warrant. A rumble from the window caught his attention and he looked up to see the black
afternoon thundercloud so typical of this time of year approaching from the northeast.
Almost as if on cue the weather radio behind his desk clicked on and he slapped the kill button. "You're a little late to tell me we've got a
Severe Thunderstorm Warning, I can see it for myself out the _", he said to the radio as he turned back to his computer. The opening strains of
Copeland's Rodeo flowed from another radio tuned to the local classical music station. Seconds later his concentration on his work was shattered with
the following announcement:
"We interrupt our programming: This is a national emergency.
Important instructions will follow. "
The coffee cup fell over and spilled across the budget papers as John leapt from his chair and across the room to turn up the volume. His other hand
swept his cell phone out of his shirt pocket, flipped the cover and punched the pre-programmed memory button that dialed his wife's cell phone.
"This is an Emergency Action Notification. All broadcast stations and cable systems shall transmit this Emergency Action Notification Message. This
station has interrupted its regular programming at the request of the White House to participate in the Emergency Alert System.
During this emergency, most stations will remain on the air providing news and information to the public in assigned areas. This is 88.4 FM, a radio
service of the University of Florida. We will continue to serve the greater Gainesville area. If you are not in this Local Area, you should turn to
stations providing news and information for your Local Area. You are listening to the Emergency Alert System serving the Gainesville, Florida area.
Do not use your telephone. The telephone lines should be kept open for emergency use. The Emergency Alert System has been activated. We will also be
serving as a message distribution and relay source to other broadcast stations."
He heard the connect on the other end of the line, "Hello, this is Ann!"
"Ann! It's John. Where are you?"
Her tone became quizzical when she heard the seriousness in John's voice. "I'm in town at Target with Melinda. We're going to buy her school
A new voice arose from the radio across the room. "Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States."
John said, "Stay in the car for a moment and turn on the radio to 88.4. We've got some sort of national emergency breaking."
"My fellow Americans I come to you with word of a grave emergency that has suddenly befallen not only our nation, but indeed the entire world.
Moments ago I was informed by the North American Aerospace Defense Command that they have detected an asteroid in an intercept orbit with our planet.
Unfortunately, it is coming at us from the direction of the Sun which prevented us from being able to detect this massive body in time to give an
By means of our national technical resources this previously undetected asteroid has been established to have a diameter of 750 yards and is moving at
a velocity of fifteen miles per second. This means that it will impact the Earth's surface with an energy greater than all of the nuclear weapons
presently in the armories of the United States and Russia combined. As I speak news of this impending impact is being communicated by us to every
government on this planet.
Impact will be fifty miles southeast of Bermuda in thirty six minutes. The first tsunamis will reach American shores approximately three hours after
impact. As they approach the shallow waters of our continental shelf the wave will be greatly slowed but will grow in height until it reaches an
estimated 900 feet. The first wave will break, recede and be replaced by another wave and then another. Our Eastern Seaboard from Florida to the coast
of Newfoundland will be flooded to the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. The coastlines of Europe and Western Africa will be similarly
devastated with lesser waves racing through the Caribbean, past the Straits of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean, the Cape of Good Hope into the Indian
Ocean and around the southern tip of South America into the Pacific. Virtually every coastal nation on this planet will be impacted to some extent.
As must be plain to you now the three and a half hours remaining to us will not be sufficient time to affect any meaningful evacuation of our eastern
coastline cities. Those of you in the Piedmont areas of the Appalachian mountains are advised to leave your homes immediately with whatever you can
carry in your hands and head further west higher into the mountains. Residents of the Gulf and Pacific coasts will have a longer time to get away from
the coastline and you are advised to do so immediately.
As I speak the highway patrols of every affected state are clearing the interstate highways and major national highways for one way traffic only in
all lanes away from the shorelines. There will be prolonged and severe weather effects following the impact that your local radio stations will advise
you about after this broadcast. As your President I ask and pray that you will remain calm, not panic, and to help your fellow man to the best of your
ability so that as many lives may be saved as possible. I pray the Good Lord will watch over and guide us all in this time of emergency. I will be
making further broadcasts as the necessity arises.
Dead air for a moment before the local air person comes back and says, "This is 88.4 FM, a radio service of the University of Florida, we are serving
the greater Gainesville, Florida area. If you are not in this area please tune to your local station for information specific to your area. Standby
for upcoming information on evacuation areas and locations to move towards away from the coastline." Like all Gulf coast and southeastern Atlantic
states Florida had a well developed emergency system for coping with hurricanes but nothing ever dreamed of by the state's emergency planners had
ever been intended to deal with this.
John came back to himself and realized he was still holding the cell phone in his hand. "Ann? Ann?!", he said, voice rising.
"Yes John, I'm still here.", she replied, "What should we do? Will the waves reach us this far inland?"
In a decisive tone he said, "Go straight home - right now. Don't stop for anything, God only knows how long the roads will remain passable once the
shock wears off and people begin panicking. When you get there start bracing the place for a severe hurricane. There's going to be a lot of prolonged
severe weather after that thing hits. Don't worry about filling water containers, we'll have more than we'll ever want to see again shortly. I
don't think the tsunamis will come this far…but I'm not sure - that work was all theoretical. In any event there isn't time to try to make it into
north Alabama. I'm leaving right now.
I love you. Tell Melinda I love her."
"And we love you John. See you when you get home. Sure hope we don't have to swim."
The connection broke. John put the phone in his pocket, picked up his kit and left the building towards his car. He saw others with stunned looks on
their faces not moving.
As he left the building he wondered if he'd live to see another building like it being built again in his lifetime…