The threat of an EMP is nothing new to the prepper community. But, the dramatic threat from an electromagnetic pulse is often misunderstood. Let’s clarify exactly what’s at stake and why you’re at risk.
The world’s largest militaries have developed (or are threatening to use) an EMP weapon. This kind of weapon delivers a shock of energy that ruins any modern electronics with a microchip inside. First of all, the United States recently tested a drone that’s capable of firing an electromagnetic pulse. Also, China has been reported to have an EMP ‘ray gun’
The damage from an EMP is a major threat, to the point where over-dramatic adjectives start being thrown around. Things like ‘existential’ or ‘end of society.’ And even the most sober, practical looks into the potential damage from an EMP are startling.
A report from the federal agency that oversees the electrical grid says that an EMP could cause “outages to major portions of the U.S. power grid possibly lasting for months or longer.”
The Congressional EMP Commission has warned that it could black out the nation’s electric grid for over a year and kill 90 percent of Americans.
Conventional or extraterrestrial?
There is certainly a danger of an EMP arising from an attempted attack. But, the more likely danger comes from beyond the atmosphere, not across the oceans. Interviews with experts in the field say the likelihood of one affecting us from a rival military power is low, and from a terrorist attack even lower.
That’s because there are lots of precise variables that have to be calculated and executed perfectly to deliver an electromagnetic pulse attack to a major portion of the US. And, the difficulty around that means terrorists are more likely drawn to a conventional attack on a major city (which would be much cheaper and more likely to succeed).
Threats beyond our planet
The Carrington event was a solar flare in 1859 that struck the Earth with such force it let telegraph operators continue to operate with their equipment unplugged from batteries, and caused an aurora seen all over the planet. A similar event has led to billions of dollars spent on equipment and research into space weather. The hope is to predict or warn us before another such flare strikes the Earth and fries our gear.