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Situation X: Repeat of the Carrington Event

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posted on Nov, 28 2010 @ 12:12 AM
How would you respond to THIS:

As you are reading this right now, any Television or Radio, or email or text service begins broadcasting the following message, and repeating it. (non-USA respondents would receive a corresponding message on their national emergency system….)

*Alarm sounding on any audio enabled devices*
Attention! Attention! Attention! This is an activation of the Emergency Alert System on behalf of FCC, FEMA, and National Weather Service. Scientists at the NWS have detected a Coronal Mass Ejection, also called a solar flare or sun storm of unprecedented intensity. This phenomenon has caused a dangerous discharge that will cause damage to many electronic devices and networks within the next 15 to 30 minutes.

This is not a test. This is an actual emergency. This message will repeat until this transmitter goes offline

Utility and communication networks are instructed to begin emergency shut-downs at (10 minutes from the first warning).

The public is warned to take immediate action. IMMEDIATELY turn off all stoves and heaters, whether gas or electric, and to disconnect the main circuit breaker for the home or business where you are. IF you are operating a motor vehicle, slow down IMMEDIATELY and pull off the roadway as quickly as possible. Begin powering down all electronic devices and disconnect them from any power or communications grid.

This solar event is expected to interrupt radio, television, internet, telephone, navigation, and other forms of communication. Power systems will be at risk of catastrophic malfunction. The Coronal Mass Ejection may last from several hours to several days, but you must take action NOW to minimize the danger to yourself and others.

This is not a test. This is an actual emergency. This message will repeat until this transmitter goes offline

Again, turn off all motor vehicles, unplug all appliances, disconnect all utilities and networks until specifically told by local authorities that the threat is ended.

(Message repeats).

So, what would you do, right now?

This scenario envisions a genuine Coronal Mass Ejection (solar flare) on the scale of the Carrington Event of 1859. That historic event damaged the primitive electronic devices and networks of the day.

If the same event happened now, it is expected the impact would be much more profound, due to the ubiquity of electronic devices and networks. This 2008 paper by the National Research Council speculates that such an event could cause permanent damage to the large transformers used on high voltage networks, as well as disrupting all satellite and GPS communication for the duration of the event.

The research paper, and this ATS threadby our own contributors, mention permanent damage that could take over a year to get some electricity providers operational again, particularly in the US east of the Mississippi and Oregon/Washington.

So, how would you respond right now, not even knowing for certain how profound the effects might be?

posted on Nov, 28 2010 @ 12:42 AM
reply to post by dr_strangecraft

I would expect the major electrical suppliers themselves to be able to shutdown their grids. I don't know if they have the capability to do this within 30 minutes, but most of us couldn't get home within 30 minutes to do the same either if we were at work.

It is going to be the middle of the night as well somewhere in the world, what happens to those people as they wouldn't even know about the emergency broadcasts?

posted on Nov, 28 2010 @ 12:54 AM
well i would first do what i could according to where i was and what i had out of the list of things they told me to do. then i would withdraw all the money i could from my bank. luckily i have a credit card, so you know i would make a superhero out of that when i immediately rush to the grocery store and buy canned foods and fishing poles and water purification tablets and tons of medicine.

id try to make an alliance with some people at the store so that we could work together to get as much as we could out of the place without fighting each other. then i would head on home and dump the supplies and repeat that as long as i could until the stores were empty or the CME hit and my credit card stopped working.

once that would happen, i would have to walk i think since my car would stop functioning, so id go to a place where i could purchase a bike or just jack one from some kid and a red wagon too so i have something to carry supplies with when i travel around. then the next place i would go to is a something like home depot where i can purchase some lead sheets and some plants and a lot of seeds. then id go to a weapons store and buy a bow and a good amount of arrows and a beginners guide to carving up your own arrows. from there id go home and build a lead house (instead of a green house), leaving the front completely open so the sun can still penetrate but the plants can be mostly protected from the massive spike in radiation that would otherwise murder them. once i planted the seeds and stuff i would have a beer to relax. gardening is tough labor.

after this i would cry a little bit probably out of fear, but then i would recollect myself and check what degradable food i have. id start a fire outside and cook most if not all of it and eat that for the next few days and start trading it at the same time for canned goods or water or anything that would help. i am a good chef so the flavors and aromas of the food would help to entice people to give me their stuff. with all the food canned and medical supplies i think me and my family plus an extra 2 dogs and id say 3 stragglers could survive comfortably for 3 months. but to save supplies id do a lot of fishing, so i could make the canned stuff last longer. so each day i would at least have to catch about a dozen fish if i wwanted to refrain from using my canned goods and keep that for an emergency. that reminds me i would dig up a basement or cellar in my backyard and store the goodies there and hide it somehow so no one could raid my home and jack it all. though my plants would still be victim. plus i would have a bow and arrow so i think id be alright for sometime. to be honest, id rather live in the days of a CME. as long as i have a lot of sunscreen im fine. idk about my dogs though, which is sad to think they would get fried. lead would help a lot though.

posted on Nov, 28 2010 @ 01:02 AM
Well, since I don't have any lead-lined boxes laying around, I suppose I'd just do what the broadcast says. Not alot you can do- not enough time to go to the store and stock up. Luckily I'm on a well that uses a pressure head so I can still get water and I have enough food stocked for at least a month- more if I ration it well. I'm not sure unplugging anything will do any good, as it would still overload the circuits from what I understand. My stove is completely propane, fed from a small tank( and I have 2 backups) so I don't see how that would be effected. I live in a small trailer, so I can run lights off my battery for at least a month (as long as the only electric I use is for lights), but then I also have candles so I don't have to. I alos have a gas generator to charge my batteries if/when I need to. One thing I DON"T have yet is a good amount of backup fuel just in case, I need to do that.

So I guess the first thing I'd do is get all my food together and ration it out for as long as I think I'll need to stretch it, then I"d hook my trailer up and go drive up into the mountains near where I live just to be safe, bringing my BOB and rifle/ammo to hunt if I need to (TONS of deer around here, so easy to find you'd be stupid to starve-a perk of living in a small town in SW Montana).

I've long believed that another Carringtion Event is the most likely SHTF scenario we are really pretty likely to see before the end of the century. Yeah, you may not be around to see it, but your kids or grandkids will be.

posted on Nov, 28 2010 @ 01:04 AM
Get on with my life without power, I would move obviously since New York City needs to have its food delivered to us.

The 2003 blackout was pretty tame, no riots or anything.
There were 6 fatalities though.
"Two were deaths from carbon monoxide, two from fire, one as a result of a fall from a roof while breaking into a shoe store, and one man died of a heart attack in his neighbor's apartment after climbing the 17 flights to their floor."

Everyday stuff that would have been avoided if there was electricity.

posted on Nov, 28 2010 @ 01:09 AM
I have a 74 Nova, and nothing electrical works on it anyway. At least i could drive places till it ran out of gas, then again it only gets 8 mpg so that wouldn't last long anyway.

posted on Nov, 28 2010 @ 01:16 AM
reply to post by asperetty

I don't think a CME would "fry" anything except electronics, as its pretty much just EMP.

Also pretty sure Home Depot, or any local hardware/home improvement store, wouldn't carry lead sheets, thats kind of a speciallized thing and since its a hazardous material would have to be special ordered.

10-30 minutes is hardly enough time to get to the store, let alone actually get everything together and purchased before it hit.

I don't mean to be critical, but it doesn't sound like you really thought the post through before you wrote it, no offense to you of course.
edit on 28-11-2010 by JJRichey because: changed would to wouldn't whoops

posted on Nov, 28 2010 @ 01:36 AM
reply to post by JJRichey

fry from radiation, not heat. i think it would destroy plants, and increase chances of burns etc.

like i said, it depended where i was. getting supplies from a grocery is pretty fast if you are running and shoving things. id give that 15 mins itself. plus, places like albertsons carries seeds, so no need to hit up home depot. if not lead, then MLV is decent for a temporary block against the radiation. once youve got yourself set for food for at least a month, there isnt much to worry about as you know how to fish or hunt. but then everyone else will be in the same position, so wild life will be rare. guess instead of a bow and arrow id get a rifle with a damn good scope and a laser pointer. stealing a sailboat is on the list for sure. theres more fish than there are deer.

posted on Nov, 28 2010 @ 02:09 AM
first I'd use metal garbage cans as a Faraday cage for anything electronic I could fit them, going with a radio, and the laptop first, then short wave antennas, then turn off the power main, then I'd go outside with a fire extinguisher and watch the power and telephone lines carefully. If I had time to go to the store to grab a load of chili cans, batteries, and bottled water, I'd do so, but not at the cost of leaving my home at risk from fires due to melting power lines or wiring.

posted on Nov, 28 2010 @ 02:34 AM
If we had a decent disaster plan as a society it would be really easy to mitigate the damage from an event.

However, instead what we have is everyone coming up with their "own plans".

Notice above, a very typical response is to Panic and do Irrational things.

Step #1 : Withdraw all money from bank account.

Now wouldn't that actually turn a nice 2 day vacation from civilization into a bank meltdown now?

Talk about turning a decent day into a bad one.

So in reality, a blitz on the grocery stores is inevitable. Everyone has their "own plans". To withdraw all their $ and go on a spending spree at the last second.

That will cause the stores to be overflowing with masses of people, who are in shock, full of panic, fear, etc.

Then the event will start. And the stores lights will go out. And the scanners at the check out lines will not work. So then they can't "sell" anything. Doing it by hand will take 30min per customer... lol. In the dark mind you.

This will cause people to just start rushing out the door impatiently, while the panic and fear keep rising in the situation. Thats when massive theft occurs.

The isles will be empty soon, and people will start fighting over the last stuff on the shelf. Violence begins.
People will be going in the back to look through whats in stock. By this point the store "workers" will either have fled the area, find themselves injured, surrounded by shouting people, or actually becoming part of the mob. Order will have collapsed entirely.

Police will get trigger happy and make a bad situation tragic, and prolly unload on the crowds of panicing fools.

So that's why I keep at least 2weeks of canned food around at all times. Dry goods also. Pastas, Rice, etc.
If you don't have a water well or clean source of water nearby, than get bottled water.

And create a logical disaster plan. Basically like figuring a strategy to unplug everything quickly. Simple.

Another Carrington Event would be a cakewalk if people didn't panic or act irrationally.

Just go to the store tomorrow and buy 30 or 40 cans of stuff you like + some bags of rice and pasta. 50$ and you will be loaded down.

Remember the grasshopper and the ant? The ant survived the harsh winter because he planned ahead and gathered supplies during the summer. The grasshopper died in the winter because he did not plan ahead or gather supplies during the summer.

Don't be a grasshopper.

posted on Nov, 28 2010 @ 10:47 PM
Based on my reading, including the articles I linked in my original post, it seems that even with a CME on the order of the original Carrington, event, a lot of personal electronics and computers might be functional. From what I've read, the problem is for networks, which have long miles of conductor that act as a sort of antenna for the energy created by the flare as it warps the earths magnetic field. This means that the biggest problems would be for:

Satellites (which are up in the magnetosphere anyway.)
Electricity distribution networks with high power lines
transformer installations that serve a whole community
phone lines
non-optic fiber links
transatlantic cables ( these seem to be the most sensitive of all)
pipelines and railroads (both systems use electronic monitors, which might be permanently destroyed by energy similar to static electricity)

Many smaller systems would work in several days, after the CME has passed. The real damage would come from transformers, and sensing equipment on piplines and power grids, that would need to be replaced. Canada experienced this in the 1990's, and it took up to a year to replace every single damaged transformer, which must be specially made to order and can take 12 months each.

posted on Nov, 28 2010 @ 11:26 PM
reply to post by Lhuhikwdwoo

Can you really use metal garbage cans for Faraday cages? Would you wrap your electronics in something before placing them in the cans?

posted on Nov, 29 2010 @ 11:50 PM
reply to post by berkeleygal

Any metal enclosure can be a faraday cage, as long as you have a sink to ground the fluctuations. However, Faraday cages don't effect static or slow-flux magnetic fields, so I am not sure how much protection they would offer against a geomagnetic storm.

The good news though, is that such a geomagnetic storm would probably not permanently damage most consumer electronics.

The problem is that the storm would damage the large networks such devices rely on.

One of the papers I sourced in the OP speculates that if you live East of the Mississippi, a Carrington-level CME could leave you without electrical power from your utility for between ... 1 and 4 years.

That would definitely impact our civilization permanently.

posted on Dec, 1 2010 @ 01:44 AM
reply to post by asperetty

Ok, I'll concede to that
I live in a small town and 15 minutes actually would be enough time to rush to the corner grocer.

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