People understand the threat of a looming hurricane.
Their magnitude and destruction are understood by many.
But FEMA is preparing for one damaging weather event that most people don’t even know about.
FEMA is preparing and trying to ensure readiness for a solar storm, which can cause major disruption.
A solar storm is a disturbance on the surface of the sun, which has the capacity to ripple through the entire solar system, affecting space weather in the process.
Space weather encompasses the variant conditions of the solar system, which can affect Earths’ atmosphere.
A solar flare is one type of event that affects space weather.
The solar flare is caused by an explosion on the sun, and the event releases a massive burst of energy.
In 2012, a solar flare barely missed Earth.
The effects of such a solar event can vary.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) categories the levels of solar radiation on their S-scale.
S1 is described as minor, S2 is moderate, S3 is strong, S4 is severe, and S5 is extreme.
S1 has almost no effects beyond HF (high frequency) radio disruptions in the polar regions.
S1 events occur roughly 50 times in a cycle, which is designated to be 11 years.
S3 presents elevated risks of radiation exposure for astronauts on EVA (extravehicular activity) missions, i.e. activities when astronauts are outside spacecrafts.
S3 levels can also expose passengers on high-flying aircrafts at high latitudes (closer to the pole) to radiation.
Satellite operations can also be disrupted by S3 ration levels.
S3 events occur roughly 10 times per 11-year cycle.
S5 events occur less than once per cycle, but their effects can be long-lasting.
They present unavoidable high-radiation hazards for astronauts on EVA missions and passengers in high-flying aircrafts at high latitudes.
S5 events can also permanently damage satellites, complete HF radio blackouts in the polar regions, and massive disruptions to navigation systems.
Severe satellite disruption can affect everyone, not just people in polar regions.
Power, heat, air conditioning, water treatment, and waste management could all be greatly impacted by major satellite failure.
This is why FEMA is attempting to coordinate with first-responder systems to aid in the event of a massive solar storm.
One thing to consider is a Faraday cage, which can block electromagnetic fields and protect your electronic capabilities from a solar storm, an EMP blast, or another extreme event.
If you’re preparing for a SHTF moment, make sure that you can handle an extended blackout event.
You’ll need to have all your bases covered.
Canned goods, freeze-dried foods, and plenty of water should tide you over in terms of nourishment.
You’ll need plenty of flashlights, batteries, and candles.
A plan for waste disposal and cleanliness need to be in place so as to avoid the spread of lice.
And don’t forget leisurely activities as a distraction.
Blackout events have a tendency to cause people to get stir crazy, especially if so much of their lives are spent using electronic devices.