A “perfect” solar storm similar to the one that struck the Earth in 1859 would blow the United States grid for four to 10 years if it struck today, according to an unpublished report by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The 36-page report, released this month, reveals old government documents that are often recovered through requests for freedom of information law. The 2010 paper was entitled, “Mitigation Strategies for FEMA Management, Control, and Communications During and After a Solar Storm.”
The storm that struck the Earth in 1859 was called the Carrington Event and caused the telegraph lines to collapse with the most advanced technology of the time.
Predicting what would happen if this category of solar storm hit our planet today, the document says: “Significant power outages could occur in North America and elsewhere and could take 4-10 years to fully recover.”
But even a smaller storm, such as the one that struck Earth in 1921, “could cause a major power outage” if it struck today.
The report predicts that the Internet, cable TV and telephone service will be shut down. Mobile service will also be lost quickly.
“About 60% of cell phone towers in the United States have a backup battery for only 2-24 hours,” the report said.
“As these towers lose power, large parts of the cellular network will begin to fail.
“Urban and residential suburban areas are more likely to have backup generator tower towers with fuel stocks ranging from 1-7 days, depending on the location and owner of the equipment.”
It is important that the federal agency somehow became very concerned about the problem, and began to conduct modeling and training. From the experience of modeling pandemics, we know that if scientists have begun to simulate something, then countries and people should expect roller coaster type adventures.
For the United States, the restoration of power grids will drag on for 4-10 years, for third world countries for decades.
The average phone user knows nothing about uninterruptible power supplies for cell towers. But, based on the data in the report, even with a complete blackout in the world, people will have 2-24 hours to resolve issues that require a phone. For example, call friends and collect a caravan to go somewhere in the forest.