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February 12th, 2014
Every year somewhere in our country tens of thousands of Americans experience an emergency resulting from any number of scenarios that may include natural disasters, economic hardship or other unexpected circumstances. And every year we watch with amazement as those in areas that have been affected by snow storms, hurricanes, tornadoes or earthquakes lose everything and have no backup plan to deal with the crisis.
The thin veneer of our civilization should be apparent to everyone, yet it seems that no one really gets it.
Despite warnings from FEMA, as well as the prevalence of popular preparedness TV shows, Americans still don’t seem to understand how susceptible we are to a complete destabilization of life as we know it. It boggles the mind that most people seem to think that when disasters strikes they’ll be able to depend on someone elseto provide them with assistance.
Recent disasters, especially those here in the United States, are often limited to a particular city or region, so emergency service personal are often able to get things under control within a week or two. But events like Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Hurricane Sandy on the east coast, and the recent chemical spill in West Virgina often only affect a small percentage of our domestic population.
But what if the next disaster comes in the form of an earthquake on the New Madrid fault line? Or what if the sun unleashes a solar flare powerful enough to take down our electrical grid? Or what if a rogue terror organization were to detonate a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb over U.S. soil?
All of these scenarios would have an immediate and lasting impact on not tens of thousands of people, but millions.
What would it look like in America on that particular day?
If this week’s snow storm east of the Mississippi is any indication, then we can expect widespread pandemonium and panic:
Atlanta residents ransacked neighborhood grocery stores in frantic preparation for their second major snowstorm of the year, waging fights over food items and leaving destruction and empty shelves in their wake, a stunning precursor to what will ensue once a major crisis impacts the U.S.
After three inches of snow shut the city down two weeks ago, causing major havoc and leaving miles of cars stranded on immobile roadways, the residents of Atlanta took heed and shopped early.
According to people who Tweeted photos of barren store shelves, residents went crazy over essentials like milk, bread, water and eggs, and in some cases “people were fighting. Yes fighting,” alleges one user.
Given Americans’ propensity to riot over such inanities as Black Friday sales and winning sports teams, could fights and empty shelves also be expected in the midst of a major crisis?
The pictures and real-time commentary below demonstrate exactly why “preppers” do what they do, despite being ridiculed and laughed at by the myrmidons of the mainstream.
(Pictures courtesy of Adan Salazar & Kit Daniels of Infowars)
— Muhammad Tipu N (@mrautoclutch20) February 11, 2014
— AmFam_Louis4 (@AmFam_Louis4) February 11, 2014
— D.J Jammison (@LordDerrick) February 11, 2014
If a transient winter storm for which we had ample advance warning leads to panic buying, empty store shelves and brawls, then what do you think is going to happen in a worst case scenario?
It’ll start just like Atlanta, with people in panic mode looking for food, water andessential supplies. Once the food runs out, so will patience. Chances are that emergency responders will be overwhelmed or they’ll be taking care of their own families, so calls for help will go unanswered. Government will either be too slow to respond or they won’t show up at all:
“What people have got to know is that they’re on their own, literally on their own,” he said.
Experts say people should be prepared to look after themselves for at least three days after any major disaster.
But Mr Winter says most people have no plans in place.
“If we turn off power and water, how long will you be able to survive?” he said.
“When we put to people, ‘Can you survive for 72 hours without external help?’, the reaction is their jaw drops.”
Three days, maybe less, as we saw in West Virginia last month:
Lesson #1: There will be immediate panic
That’s when the situation goes critical.
The looting and violence will begin. First they’ll target businesses likely grocery stores, warehouses, and restaurants. When those are picked clean, they’ll go door-to-door.
Will you be ready? Because they won’t be knocking.
The city of Washington, Illinois, was hit hard by a “large and extremely dangerous” tornado [Reuters]
|Severe storms and violent tornadoes have killed at least two people and injured about 40 and flattening large parts of the city of Washington, Illinois, as they battered the US Midwest on Sunday, officials said.
The storm created tornadoes in Bone Gap and Miller City, Illinois, in Mount Carmel, Noblesville and Vincennes in Indiana, and in Paducah, Kentucky, the National Weather Service said on Sunday.
The storm system is threatening up to 53 million people across the Midwest.
The storm also forced the Chicago Bears to halt their game against the Baltimore Ravens and encourage fans at Soldier Field to seek shelter as the storm roared in.
Chicago’s two major airports also briefly stopped traffic with the metropolitan area was under a tornado watch.
The city of Washington, Illinois, was hit hard by what the National Weather Service called a “large and extremely dangerous” tornado.
Thirty-one people injured by the storm that hit Washington were being treated at St Francis Medical Center, one of the main hospitals in nearby Peoria, according to hospital spokeswoman Amy Paul. Eight had traumatic injuries.
Two people were killed in Washington County, Illinois, about 320km south of Peoria, said Illinois Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Patti Thompson.
The agency estimated that at least 70 homes were destroyed across the state.
Stephen Wilson, a spokesman for Peoria’s Proctor Hospital, said six or seven patients were being treated with minor injuries. “Mostly cuts, bruises, some broken bones,” he said.
Photos from Washington, Illinois, showed buildings reduced to rubble and homes torn in half in the city of 15,000 people about 233km southwest of Chicago.
“We have reports of homes being flattened, roofs being torn off,” Sara Sparkman, a spokeswoman for the health department of Tazewell County, Illinois, where Washington is located, said in a telephone interview.
Many of the injuries appeared to have been caused by collapsing structures.
The Illinois National Guard sent a 10-person fire-fighting and search-and-rescue team to Washington to help with the recovery effort.
Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said mobile homes were toppled, roofs torn from homes, and trees uprooted.
She said officials believe some people may be trapped in their basements under debris.
The American Red Cross worked with emergency management officials to set up shelters and provide assistance to displaced residents, even as rescue workers searched for more people who might have been caught and trapped in the storm’s path.
Tornado warnings were in effect for parts of Indiana and Kentucky. Weather officials urged residents of areas with tornado warnings in place to take cover in interior, low-floor rooms of study buildings.
The NWS’s Storm Prediction Center said the storm moved dangerously fast, tracking eastward at 97 kilometre per hour.
- El Reno, Oklahoma tornado widest ever recorded in the U.S. (cinewsnow.com)
- El Reno, Union City tornado in Oklahoma widest on record (fox6now.com)
- El Reno tornado, at 2.6 miles across, was widest on record (usnews.nbcnews.com)
- UPDATE: El Reno, Union City tornado widest tornado on record (kfor.com)
- Oklahoma Tornado Widest Ever Recorded On Earth (fox2now.com)
- Deadly Oklahoma Tornado Widest On Record, Rare EF5 (dfw.cbslocal.com)
- El Reno Tornado Widest On Record and Upgraded to Rare EF-5 (tvnooz.com)
- Mile-wide tornado heads toward Oklahoma City (itv.com)
- Woman, baby, three others killed as tornadoes hit Oklahoma City suburbs (usnews.nbcnews.com)
- New Oklahoma tornadoes ‘kill five’ (bbc.co.uk)
- New tornado develops close to Oklahoma (itv.com)
- Deadly tornadoes ravage Oklahoma (bbc.co.uk)
- Massive tornadoes hit in, around Oklahoma City (wgnradio.com)
- Oklahoma ravaged by deadly tornadoes (arunbabyveranakunnel.wordpress.com)
- Tornado whallops Oklahoma City suburb (themoderatevoice.com)
- Helping with disaster in the heartland (cnn.com)
- School near Oklahoma City directly hit by two-kilometre wide tornado: Police (ctvnews.ca)
- mile-wide tornado rips through Oklahoma City area – CBS News (americanbulwark.com)
- Mile-Wide Tornado Rips Through Oklahoma City (wsaw.com)
- Deadly tornadoes blow through Texas (pix11.com)
- Tornadoes Spin Through Texas Towns After Dark, Killing Six (insurancejournal.com)
- 6 dead, at least 14 missing as tornadoes rip through Texas – NBCNews.com (americanbulwark.com)
- Deadly tornado strikes Texas town (bbc.co.uk)