'Solar Katrina' Could Blindside Us
Senate needs to act to protect power grid
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2010 12:05 AM CDT
This image from NASA shows an eruptive prominence blasting away from the sun earlier this year.   (AP Photo/NASA)

(Newser) – America is woefully underprepared for a looming natural disaster with the potential to be much worse than Hurricane Katrina, warns disaster expert Lawrence E. Joseph. Scientists believe a solar storm of a size not seen since 1921 is likely to hit the earth after solar activity picks up in 2012, sending out an electromagnetic pulse that could fry transformers and put electricity grids offline for months, Joseph writes in the New York Times.

Such an event would compromise the food and water supply as well as national security and even basic law enforcement, Joseph warns. We could protect the grid for about $250 million by installing surge protectors—giant versions of the devices used to protect home computers—nationwide, Joseph argues, but while the House has passed a bill requiring grid protection, the Senate's version of the bill contains no such measure. Lawmakers will be making a grave mistake if they fail to fix this omission while the bill is in conference, Joseph concludes.

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Showing 3 of 34 comments
SC23
Aug 17, 2010 11:06 AM CDT
Maybe it wont be the Mayan apocalypse they predicted.. but 2012 will prolly be pretty damn interesting. Lots of things seem to be coming together.. maybe tinfoil hatish..maybe not... still.. I did without electricity for a few weeks during Ike and Katrina as I lived on the gulf coast back then and it sucks, but you would be surprised at people's resourcefulness and capability to survive. Its the mega-cities that I would fear... people in large groups get stupid quick.
amp94040
Aug 17, 2010 10:41 AM CDT
People need to stop equating Hurricane Katrina to total disaster. It wasn't even close to being the most devastating storm to hit the US. Why not call it the "Solar Galveston Storm of 1900." I wish the media would stop trying to make Hurricane Katrina seem like a special event that is unparalleled in human history. It's been five years enough is enough.
sanagalrc
Aug 17, 2010 9:15 AM CDT
It's like a hurricane... from the sun?