The First Steps You Should Take Immediately After a CME

Christopher Casper
By Christopher Casper May 2, 2017 12:29

The First Steps You Should Take Immediately After a CME

A tsunami of plasma sweeps from the Sun.

The world’s electrical grid is a smoking ruin. A new Dark Age descends on Earth.

It sounds like the kind of thing the SyFy Channel would run between Sharknado sequels. But Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) are real.

The 3 Waves That Will Hit Earth

  1. Solar Flare – The energy pumps out a lot of light from visible through ultraviolet and into x-ray levels. It reaches Earth 8 minutes later.
  2. CME Wave One – Near-lightspeed plasma hits Earth about 20 minutes after the solar flare.
  3. CME Wave Two – Gigatons of slow-moving plasma (if 60-600 miles per second is slow) flow from the Sun, reaching Earth 18 hours to 3 days later.

solar flare magnitude

The 3 Storms That Will Hit Earth:

  1. Atmospheric Ionization – The solar flare and the first wave of plasma strip electrons from atoms in the upper atmosphere. This thickens Earth’s ionosphere for several days.
  2. Radiation Storms – Subatomic particles pierce Earth’s magnetosphere. They penetrate within 40,000-50,000 feet of the surface.
  3. Geomagnetic Storms – A rolling cascade of magnetic and electric fields descend 1,000 miles to Earth’s surface. The storm whips ground-level geomagnetic fields back and forth. (this is the storm that will affect people on Earth)

Earth has been around a long time. It knows how to take a hit. Things get more complicated when you add people – and civilization – to the mix.

Related: Where Not To Be During an EMP

Solar Storm Effects vs. Nuclear EMP Effects

The solar storm will flip Earth’s magnetic field lines back and forth.

Those flipping magnetic fields will generate currents in anything thin, long, and metallic.

Like the electrical grid…

Huge currents will build up across long-distance transmission lines. These currents will surge through the grid. One after the other, transformers will overheat and trip their fail-safes… or blow up. This domino effect will spread across the grid and a wave of blackouts will sweep across the country.

Important: unlike a nuclear EMP, the Coronal Mass Ejection will affect only the grid and the electronics plugged into it (refrigerators, electric stoves, washing machines, water pumps, but not cars or mobile phones)

On the bright side, the Aurora Borealis will look spectacular… over Dallas… at noon…aurora borealis CME

Steps to Take Before and Shortly After A Solar Super-storm

The CME threat is real. Only a few of the 320 million people in the United States and 7 billion people worldwide will be ready when the SHTF.

#1. First, before the CME hits:

  • You’re better off disconnecting for the duration (if you haven’t already). That doesn’t mean flipping the breakers. It means putting an air-gap between the electric company’s wires and your home.
  • Disconnect the cables connecting your off-grid power supply
  • Buy extra transformers since they will be fried. Also, considering they are only produced abroad, it means that the grid could be down for a very long time.
  • Those surges may not make through the grid to your homestead.

#2. Second, you need to be ready for the short-term effects.

  • Unlike a nuclear-generated electromagnetic pulse, CMEs will not damage cars or small electronics.
  • Your ham radio system is an important exception. Once the telephone system shuts down you may be among the few with any kind of long-range comms. Disconnect that long antenna wire for the duration of the solar storm.
  • Chaos will unfold following a grid collapse. This will manifest through general panic, looting, rioting, murder, mayhem, assaults, martial law. Hence, be prepared for the biggest societal collapse ever recorded.

#3. A stockpile of food, fuel, water, and ammo can get you through the first weeks.

The unprepared masses will swarm from cities and suburbs like a plague of locusts. Hunker in place. Don’t advertise your presence, bug in and secure your surroundings, as well as your supplies (make sure you store as much water as you can while it is still provided by the municipality). And be ready to defend yourself and your family.

#4. Get a stash of cash fast

  • Since almost all modern banking is conducted electronically, you’ll find yourself unable to access your money when a CME blasts the Earth.
  • After you got your cash, try to immediately spend it on supplies you’re running short on because in a few days the prices will skyrocket – a can of food will cost thousands of dollars.

#5. The self-reliant will be the ones who emerge from the aftermath of a coronal mass ejection.

Short-term preparations are easy, but surviving a CME depends on self-reliance. That requires a lifestyle change as much as it does buying gear and supplies. Now is the time to learn new skills and reduce your dependence on the big-box consumer economy.

#6. The first winter will separate the prepared from the victims.

Violence and starvation will kill more than ninety percent of the world’s population. Ninety percent of those survivors may die. Stockpiles will dwindle as the last of civilization fades away.

#7. Follow the latest solar storm predictions from Space Weather Predictions Center on NOAA.

#8. And last, but not least, seek out like minded folks that will barter for things they need in return for items that you have available.

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Christopher Casper
By Christopher Casper May 2, 2017 12:29
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33 Comments

  1. left coast chuck May 2, 14:25

    I am currently reading a book about the crusades. The crusaders of the first crusade in the 11th century noticed what was probably a CME event. They noticed aurora borealis south of the city of Antioch. There was no description of how far south the phenomenon extended. The author didn’t remark on it as a CME because the book is one written early in the 20th century and at that time CME didn’t have much significance. Of course, there was no noticeable impact on the earth at that time.

    Reply to this comment
    • Wannabe May 2, 19:33

      Hey chuck, how does the author portray the crusaders in the book? I’m just curious

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck May 2, 21:33

        I think his depiction of both sides is pretty factual as much as anyone can be about events that took place 1,000 years ago. Both sides were pretty brutal with no quarter given. During that period soldiers fought for what they could steal and pillage after slaughtering the other side. It was the way life was for both sides. One thousand years ago life was brutal.

        Reply to this comment
        • Wannabe May 5, 01:38

          I just don’t think books for the most part don’t tell the whole truth about the crusades. I know Hollywood does not. Christian crusaders were the “evil” ones and the muslims were the innocent victims defending their homes. Today the jihadists are calling for a caliphate which is pretty much Islamic world domination. Well I think it was the same back then as well. Mohammad unified many tribes to form a larger force and then went about killing all who didn’t side with their beliefs. Their army grew and in time the Islamic caliphate spread into all of the Middle East, on into turkey, then west of the Nile river into North Africa. Then they set their eyes toward Europe and invaded the southern countries. Killing all the infidels and taking women and children to be slaves. Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain , France, all attacked relentlessly. Remember, caliphate equals Islamic world domination. After centuries of conquering, killing, stealing, rape, slavery only because you were not Muslim, here come the crusades. I think the other European nations realized, hey if we don’t stand up to these animals we are all dead. So that is what they did, stand up to those animals. So in other words, the caliphate created the crusades. And unfortunately, as in any warfare, you have to beat back an animal with brutality. Does this ever come up in that book, or college, or high school or a church for that matter? I’m just curious.

          Reply to this comment
        • Lucy May 8, 20:38

          I have been reading a book, “The Crusades Through Arab Eyes,” which appears to agree quite closely factually with the Western viewpoint I’ve always read about, with specific dates and characters, seen from the other side. Startling to read about the same cities and types of bad actors we hear about in the daily news: Aleppo, Homs, Damascus, etc, the advent of the Assassins, wow.

          Reply to this comment
  2. Jess May 2, 16:37

    I’ve been told that a layer of cardboard covered with aluminum foil will keep unplugged electronics safe from an EMP. Is that correct?

    Reply to this comment
    • Kenneth May 2, 18:19

      No, not at all.

      Reply to this comment
    • CCTer May 2, 18:27

      To be properly protected, they need to be insulated (not touching sides) in a faraday cage or box and the box/cage should be grounded.

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck May 2, 21:37

        Aluminum foil is a conductor, not an insulator. In the 60s there was a trend to wire home construction with aluminum wire. Didn’t work out too well, too much resistance and it heated up. However, despite having more resistance than copper or silver or gold, it is still a conductor and will transmit a charge right to the item you are trying to protect. Cardboard is a nonconductor. If you are old enough you will remember the cords of appliances used paper as an insulator for the wires in the cord.

        Reply to this comment
        • Frank May 3, 09:46

          The biggest problem with aluminum wire used in home construction was damage during installation, which caused the conductor to fail during use. The aluminum wire was easily damaged, often as the insulation was stripped when making connections. AWG 8 is the smallest now allowed to be used in building wiring now. About large enough for an apartment size range.

          Reply to this comment
  3. ezprep May 2, 17:59

    What city/state does the picture credit Dallas at noon? No way it’s Dallas TX, no waterways or mountains with snow there. If that picture is taken at noon, it has to be a very high latitude.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Wannabe May 2, 19:31

    Time to do some more canning

    Reply to this comment
  5. Guy May 2, 19:53

    Interesting site, but how does it help? What will those photos and graphics look like before, during and after each of the 3 storms that will hit earth? How am I going to know when the first storm hits so I can prepare for the other 2 storms? I’d really not have to trust the government to tell me!

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck May 2, 21:54

      If you read descriptions of the CME event now called the Carrington Event, the solar flare was so bright that many people thought it was daybreak and got up to go about their daily work. Newspapers could be read at midnight. The aurora borealis was seen as far south as the Hawaiian Islands and Cuba. In the brief mention I talked about in the book about the crusades, the crusaders were approaching Antioch which is a city near the Syria/Turkish border. The author wasn’t really interested in further description just in describing how the crusaders reacted to it as a sign from God. It is really difficult to say how many times a CME event has reached earth. As with the Carrington Event, other than interrupting telegraph service, the world was little influenced. Not every country had telegraph service and not every city had it, so even though telegraph service was wiped out all over the world, the effect was still minimal. Sort of like the 6 point something earthquake in Alaska earlier this week. Huh? Earthquake? Sort of like if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around is there any sound? If a CME event hits the U.S. now, there will be plenty of sound. Our whole life revolves around having a ready supply of electricity. If you live in a very remote village in Africa or China, and are still drawing water from the river and using oil lamps for light — CME? What’s that? Life goes on. If you are living in a high rise in Shanghai, you are screwed just as badly as your counterpart in New York City.

      Reply to this comment
  6. Farmer May 3, 00:51

    “Only a few of the 320 million people in the United States and 7 billion people worldwide will be ready when the SHTF.” There are many millions of people in the world who live “off the grid” in subsistence economies. Most of sub Saharan Africa, a good chunk of Central and South America, parts of Asia and many island nations; such as Haiti. These people will likely not be adversely affected by a grid down situation. It’s us overly pampered westerners and Europeans who will suffer.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck May 3, 01:38

      I think even the most remote village will be affected. No steel for tools. Do we go back to the stone age for tools? Zero medicine except for herbal remedies. How about surgery? Do you want to remove your own appendix? How about setting a compound, comminuted fracture of your femur? You may have to be dragged in a donkey cart or paddled in a canoe, but even the remotest village will take the badly injured or sick to the nearest city for medical treatment. Doctors will be forced back to treating with poultices and herbs (if they know how) and prescribing bed rest and fluids. Hopefully they won’t revert to bleeding and mercury enemas as prescribed in earlier centuries. So I think eventually even the most remote village will be impacted. Perhaps not as severely, perhaps not as early, but long term, humans will feel the effects until we are able to again rebuild life.Life is going to be as brutish as during the dark ages for a long while.

      Reply to this comment
    • Shdwolf1 May 3, 09:16

      “And the meek shall inherit the earth”

      Reply to this comment
  7. T May 3, 01:13

    Well done article

    Reply to this comment
  8. RumbleBus May 3, 03:38

    This is an interesting way to promote an out of print book.

    Reply to this comment
  9. thesouthernnationalist May 4, 12:51

    Its amazing that the human race has lived so long without electricity until just a couple of hundred years ago, that the majority of us would shrivel up and die without it.

    Its good that we have web sites such as this to come to and share old time knowledge with one another.

    Now if we could only get the youngsters off their iphones
    and pay attention to these life lessons, humanity will survive.

    Reply to this comment
  10. left coast chuck May 5, 21:19

    Actually, widespread use of electricity is less than 100 years old. My mother who was born in 1912 had gas lights in her home as a child and the street lights were also gas lights. That was in Philadelphia which was one of the major cities of the U.S. at the time. For most of the people in the rural south, electricity didn’t come until the Tennessee Valley electrification program in the 30’s. While I can’t cite any specifics, I am confident that farms in the Midwest didn’t get electrified until after WWII. I worked in an office for Westinghouse Electric Supply Company in the early 60’s in Oakland and we used mechanical comptometers in the office for doing all the calculations we needed to do. They continued to be used almost to the turn of the 21st century. How many people had computers in the 1980s? How many businesses used computers in their daily operations in the 1980s? The Calc program that was basically an electronic spreadsheet changed bookkeeping dramatically. It had a major impact on the columnar pad industry. The electrostatic copier wiped out the carbon paper industry. When a coronal mass ejection hit the northeastern portion of Canada in the early 1990s it had hardly any effect other than to kill electricity in that area for several days. Businesses weren’t dramatically affected because most of them weren’t computerized. Bank records weren’t lost because they were still manually maintained. No ATMs; credit card use was limited. I remember how shocked I was when I saw a person use a credit card for groceries in the supermarket. Now I am an anachronism because I use mostly cash rather than a credit card for everything.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Lucy May 8, 20:03

    This link is to a very clear, well written article about EMPs, both nuclear-induced and solar in Forbes magazine from 2014. Hair raising — and transparently true.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/peterdetwiler/2014/07/31/protecting-the-u-s-against-the-electromagnetic-pulse-threat-a-continued-failure-of-leadership-could-make-911-look-trivial-someday/#3ca690577a14

    This is excerpted from the article. “Don’t Forget About The Sun

    And then there is the possibility of a massive geomagnetic storm, far greater than the Hydro-Quebec solar storm of 1989, which was sufficient to cause the HQ grid to collapse within 92 seconds, took out a transformer at a nuclear plant in New Jersey.

    A geomagnetic storm occurs when a solar wind interacts with the planet’s magnetosphere and transfers energy to that magnetosphere. This results in increased electric current, which can be picked up by power lines essentially acting as antennae.

    The famous 1859 Carrington event reportedly created an aurora borealis bright enough so that people in the northeast could read a newspaper at night. The EMP impact was sufficient to cause telegraph machines to catch on fire and took out the newly laid transatlantic cable. In today’s world, it could have a significantly more devastating effect. The good news here is that with a solar event taking place 96 million miles away, we would have approximately 20 hours of lead time, and could potentially take the power grid offline to protect transformers and other infrastructure until an event passed by. That said, a proactive continental blackout could be quite damaging.”

    Reply to this comment
  12. Guy May 8, 20:31

    In my comment above I was referring to the link to #7 Space Weather Predictions Center. Nobody has addressed my question. What I want to know is what are the photos, etc. on this site (Space Weather Predictions Center) going to look like when there is a coronal mass ejection coming toward Earth? I want advance warning! I doubt the government will tell us!
    How about a response by the author?

    Reply to this comment
    • Wannabe May 10, 13:24

      Yea i wouldn’t put much trust in noaa concerning these matters either. Some elements of the organization have been militarized and given weapons and they have their own “swat team ” so to speak. Why the government thought this beuracracy needed guns to monitor what happens in our atmosphere and weather patterns is beyond me unless it is for civil unrest due to one of these storms wreaking havoc on society but that is what the national guard is for yet I digress. Just going by the article it looks like first two waves will happen quickly, within minutes of each other. Third wave seems will take much longer and that is the only one we can prepare for. My suggestion to you is do personal research on these phenomena and see if the sun sets patterns that suggest something like this will soon be occurring. Contact physicists and astronomers, people you think you can trust and ask them specific questions. I knew of someone who worked for NASA for many years in Houston, and after spending thirty minutes in conversation with him it changed my whole outlook on what that organization feeds us about space. This is a good website to get good information and awareness and tactics and ideas, but I don’t think many are experts. We share experiences and knowledge and training to help each other to move forward, so do your research and get back with us so we all can benefit from your findings. Thank you guy

      Reply to this comment
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