In the immediate aftermath of this event, tens of thousands of Washingtonians, Marylanders, and Virginians were left without power. Storms across the country had similar effects, and Americans from Richmond to Detroit are still facing the summer heat without many basic comforts.
As awful as this is, things could be even worse. Imagine for a moment that that the power never came back on.
The truth is that this scenario is not unrealistic. In fact, both scientists and military experts rank it as among the most pressing threats our country faces.
These storms demonstrated with remarkable clarity how incredibly reliant the American population is on electrical power. If one week of storms can interfere with the lives of so many, just imagine what would happen if the U.S. power grid ever shut down.
That would mean no computers. No modern transportation. No modern medicine. No modern defense infrastructure. America would essentially shut down, and millions would die. Doesn’t that sound like a very appealing prospect for our enemies?
Scientists point to the fact that solar storms, in which millions of charged particles from the sun come toward earth, could interfere with satellites and electrical systems, potentially even shutting down the electrical grid.
On an even happier note, this destruction of our electrical grid could be induced by the detonation of a nuclear weapon at high altitudes. Military leaders point to well-known advocates of foul play such as Iran as potential sources of such an attack.
If the U.S. does not want to fall victim to an attack such as that described in 33 Minutes, it is imperative that we take steps to prepare. Ultimately, this past weekend’s storms offer us a potentially useful lesson—if we are willing to learn it. They showed us how paralyzed we are without power, even for a short time.
America must take a hint from nature and protect its vital resources. To do otherwise is to leave ourselves vulnerable to a storm from which we cannot recover.