The largest solar storm in recent history struck in 1859 and the auroras could be seen across the globe. But a solar storm of that magnitude today would cause devastating blackouts in major cities on the East Coast of the United States.
An upcoming report from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) warns that a region of the Eastern Seaboard will be particularly vulnerable to devastating blackouts in the event of a solar storm thanks to the rocks beneath the surface. It’s widely believed that the type of geomagnetic storm capable of wiping out the grid happens once every century, but a worst-case scenario might result in widespread blackouts that could last for months, the Space Weather Prediction Center told Bloomberg.
According to Bloomberg, the soon-to-be-released report found a 300-million-year-old rock beneath the surface of the Eastern Seaboard could amplify the next big solar storm from Washington D.C. all the way to Maine. The makeup of this rock wouldn’t allow the solar energy to go through it and would instead ricochet it back up to the surface, doubling the impacts in this region, the report also said.
But that isn’t the only problem facing those who live on the East Coast. According to USGS research geophysicist and study lead author Jeffrey Love, the Eastern Seaboard is at risk for blackouts not only due to its abundance of insulating rocks but also due to the region’s proximity to the North Pole, where intense solar activity is most likely to strike.
“It’s an active problem that a lot of people are trying to solve and understand,” Space Weather Prediction Center scientist Christopher Balch told Bloomberg, according to The Weather Channel.
Love told Bloomberg that the new report is particularly important because the mid-Atlantic and Northeast hadn’t been previously studied in-depth with regards to how its geology would impact solar storms. Only the central U.S. was studied in this way, he added. Prior to this more recent study, the central United States was the main focus of solar storm risk assessments, and the threat to the Eastern Seaboard was not yet known.
A study in 2016 reported that the upper Midwest is the region that faces the highest threat from a geomagnetic storm. The researchers found that surges could be up to 100 times more powerful in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin compared to other areas of the United States, reported Earth.com.
The research from the USGS will be used to develop tests to measure how resilient the nation’s power grids are to solar storms, which is required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The best way to prepare for a blackout is to have some extra water and food stored just in case. You could also consider some heavy blankets in case the grid goes down in winter and keeping lanterns or candles on hand.
The Organic Prepper suggests that you find as many solutions as possible for the issues you would face if going for weeks (or longer) without power. You must stay warm, eat, and drink. Everything else is a bonus. You can live without the television, the video game console, the microwave in the kitchen, and the laptop. Other suggestions come in the form of books such as The Prepper’s Blueprint. The goal of the book is to help the reader “find freedom through self-reliance, and ultimately, to get you and your family to a point where you can not only survive but thrive, in a world that may be permanently altered.”
So your not prepped for this?? Sucks to be YOU.
Yeah Sarge, been there recently, 4&1/2 months without power, 3 weeks without municipal water.
Only thing I got tired of was helping others who did not prepare.
Bring on the lightness nights. Good time to do some much needed work.
I’ve no been living Off the Power Grid for 40 Months now. Time flies here at the FL BOL compound. Never had any electrical outages while using Solar. Just in the beginning until I got the right controller.. Flawless since. Sun comes out, hits the panels, Controller charges the batteries, inverter changes it from 12V to 120 Power to my fuse box. Poof!!! A steady stream of electricity.
No Utility Bills and Utility taxes in 40 months; do the math. Clean Renewable Quiet, Solar Energy. And its powering up my laptop and Internet Satellite Modem as I type. Lights on, fan blowing and music from the radio. Fridge and freezer doing its job keeping my food and beer cold. I am my own oasis.
Get busy folks. Do the hard work now in relatively peaceful times, and get set up, while solar products are still available. When the grid fails life as we know it comes to a stand still. And you won’t get any products shipped as the trucks stop moving. For me its like any other day, still cranking out the power.. 25 year warrantee on the panels. 4x 303 Watt Panels,for 1212 Watts harnessing and shredding the sun rays into electricity. I can produce up to about 5.5 KW per day. Just did an energy audit and load calculations on my system and demand. I’m only using about 45% of the electricity that is produced per day. If I don’t use it, it gets stored or stops charging if topped off.
TharSheBlows… I’m envious of that setup but what happens living so close to the Gulf of Mexico if a tsunami heads that way like the one that supposedly wiped out the dinosaurs? That’s likely a very long shot though. You can survive a bad hurricane possibly but intense hurricanes are rare entering off the west coast into the central Florida area. I agree with your earlier posts that living in Florida away from the congestion and able to enjoy nature is a big plus.
Florida, summer, fan for cooling? Your a hearty soul.
Wouldn’t a good ole solar storm or EMP fry an inverter, solar panels, etc. even if they are not grid intertied? It is important to have duplication of the individual components of any alternative energy system such as panels, wiring, inverter… And then these must be protected in some sort of faraday cage. Yes, the redundancy can be expensive but well worth it should an EMP or Carrington event occur.
This news is older than the newspaper at the last supper. We are in a solar minimum right now.
The sun looks like a cue ball
THE SUN IS STORMING! THE SUN IS STORMING!
WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!
(oops, except it’s not)
Last year’s full solar eclipse was supposed to divide the USA in two. It didnt do any such thing. Or any other thing either.
Dangit! I’m still prepping for the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse…
Keep at it buddy. Something’s bound to come along!
Don’t worry Dirk.
I’m only 3 quarters thru my Y2K list. 🙁
Should have it nailed down in the next 3 to 4 years.
I can then move on to the 2012 Apocalypse.
Since there is some over lap in the supplies, I’ll be finished ~2030 or so, give or take a year.
Then I’ll start to plan all the other stuff that Mac has thrown at us over the years. 🙂
Y’all play nice now.
Sure it could happen but that was over 150 years ago. Be somewhat ready but work the odds too.
Have a little fun. Get a solar telescope and use it. Makes an excellent Christmas gift.
Research “grand solar minimum” (GSM) which some scientists say we have either entered or about to enter. During this GSM, the sun is supposed to become very quiet as to sunspots and coronal mass ejections. It sounds good at first glance, especially for the east coast, but it means that our climate is going to cool down by about four degrees. We are in for more cloudiness, much more rain, more earthquakes, famines, and more volcanoes. The GSM theorists have been better at their predictions for the last ten years than the man-caused, global warming theorists. The only thing anyone agrees on is that things are going to get much worse in the next five to seven years. Make sure you’re stocked up with winter clothing and beer.
If you really like your beer, learn how to brew it for yourself.
Most beer is ‘good’ for about 6 months after bottling and probably another 6 to 9 months stored in a stable temperature environment. Refrigerated is best.
You will probably not like a cold bottle of 2 – 3 year old beer.
Uh…wasn’t there a large flare that took down parts of Canadas grid in like 1989 or there abouts?
Wow. I hadn’t heard of solar storms.
At least since a few days ago.
And every month or so for the last 20 years.
Yes, it’s going to happen. And no, the electric companies can’t pay to fix it because the government controls their rates.
We’ve all known about the solar storms for many years, and nobody has done a thing about it.
I agree. The sky is falling, the sky is falling!
But don’t give the power companies an easy out. The owners and officers and board members have been pocketing massive profits all along. The gubmint limiting their rates is a good thing.
My understanding is the danger is inducing currents in long inductors, that is the wires for distribution of electricity.
There are a few guys here that can describe power plant operation better than me. Power plants will shut down, they are designed to self protect.
The problem is bringing the system back on line. I fail to understand why is is only an East coast problem.
Any power system will have the same problem.
Exactly rellik, and the flip side is that it won’t bother short wavelength devices – computers and such. Might have to restart your car but not much else.
A solar EMP will burn up everything hooked up to the electrical grid, the phone lines, or TV cables. It won’t hurt most things not connected to the grid, such as your cellphone in your pocket or your car.
I’m a retired electronics engineer. I designed things that were put on aircraft with paying passengers so I know about EMI, conducted and emitted. I’d be surprised if a solar event affected yours or anybody else’s car, other than you could not get fuel as the main grid is down.
As an aside if we were hit hit by a direct Gamma burst from a pulsar then all bets are off(I know some astronomers), but our sun is fairly well behaved, which is why we are here. The light we get is well over a million years old. “duck duck go” it.
The light from the sun takes 8 minutes to get here. What are you talking about … light from other stars?
It’s not just an east coast problem. They haven’t surveyed the rest of the country yet. They say that there is a massive rock formation from VA to ME that would bounce an EMP back up and supposedly make it worse. There might be similar formations in other parts of the country.
A solar EMP would set up huge currents in all long wires and burn up most transformers and all electrical equipment directly connected to those long wires, including phone lines and TV cables. It wouldn’t matter, at that point, whether the power plants could run or not, as there would be nowhere for the power to go.
On October 22, 1962, Russia did a nuclear EMP test. They had a special telephone line set up with sensors to collect data. They had fuses and overvoltage protectors in all the sublines of the 350 mile line. All of those were blown. The Karaganda power plant was destroyed, and 620 miles of shallow buried power cables were shut down.
So the testing was done long ago, and nothing has been done about it. Almost everything electrical hooked up to any of the long wire grids will be destroyed by a solar EMP, and every other electronic device (not stored in a Faraday cage) will be destroyed by a nuclear EMP.
Ever heard of Snubber diodes?
They are in all power supplies.
The way I understand a flyback diode, it wouldn’t help in an EMP situation. If the diode burns out, the electricity goes through the parallel resistance and then burns up everything else in the device. If the diode doesn’t burn out, the electricity goes through the diode and burns things up anyway.
“Power plants will shut down, they are designed to self protect.”
I know a little about the electrical protection and the interlocks that will shut down the system. Phase differential, over voltage were the two main items on the electrical end. As I was told by a EE friend the inherent problem is the protective devices are mechanical. A breaker physically opens. That while swift for mechanics is an eternity for electricity. I assume that it is fast enough to limit heat buildup destroying windings as that is time dependent too. The electronics is your country. I have seen lots of electronics / interlocks bypassed with trickery (usually alligator clips and wire). Lightening took us out twice. OCBs (oil circuit breakers) open, prime movers trip GTG and Steam Turbines, rock and roll time. End up losing the entire plant and its cold start up time. Lots of work but nothing is damaged.
Just for grins.
One of my designs failed.
the textbook circuit breaker
requirement was 1200 Watts.
Unit ran at 1200 watts
for an hour or two and caused smoke
in an aircraft. CB never tripped.
My employer brought in electrical PhD’s to help
me write it up for the FAA. I was cleared
and I learned a lot about
electrical engineering they
never taught in school.
I’m not trying to brag, but
learning is life long.
more fake bull crap news
Thanks for that info on Snubber Diodes. If I understand it (in very laymen terms) the resistor adds impedance (Oms) and the capacitor stores whatever gets through. In effect a combination wall and storage tank to protect the system. We had reactors in our system, in effect 1 to 1 transformers adding resistance in case of a ground.
BB in GA – I do love beer but gout keeps me from drinking more than a bottle at a time. Might try brewing for trade purposes. Hard to beat pizza with a cold pitcher of beer. I’m lactose intolerant so no cheese and therefore no pizza. Bummer!
Michigan State University is developing transparent solar cells that create electricity from ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet light can penetrate clouds so you get electricity even on cloudy days. The transparency would allow the cells to be used as windows which could power whole buildings. There are a lot of new things being developed if only they can be marketed in time.
East coast is closer to the North Pole??? 38 degrees north latitude is the same distance from the north pole everywhere along that line.
EMP pulse is much faster than mechanical relays.
Utility protective relaying is mechanical and CAN NEVER BE TESTED because to test it you would have to put faults into the system and cause power outages to users.