Hurricane Sandy is another reminder of just how incredibly fragile the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted on a daily basis really is. Many of the hardest hit areas along the Jersey shore and the coast of Long Island have descended into a state of anarchy. More than 7 million people live on Long Island, and millions more live along the Jersey shore and right now they are getting a taste of what life would be like during a total economic meltdown. At the moment, there are still approximately 4.7 million homes and businesses that do not have power. Officials say that some of those homes and businesses may not have their power restored until the weekend of November 10th and 11th. Meanwhile, it is getting very cold at night. This weekend the low temperatures on Long Island are supposed to dip into the upper thirties. There have been reports of people diving into dumpsters behind supermarkets in a desperate search for food, and there have been other reports of roaming gangs of criminals posing as officials from FEMA or Con Edison and then robbing families at gunpoint once they have gained entrance into their homes. If people will behave like this during a temporary emergency that lasts only a few days, what would they do during a total economic collapse? That is a frightening thing to think about.
Most gas stations along the Jersey shore and on Long Island are either totally out of gasoline or they don’t have any power to operate the gas pumps. It is estimated that more than half of all gas stations in New York City are closed at the moment, and officials say that more than 80 percent of all gas stations in New Jersey are not able to sell gas right now. So needless to say, the lines at the gas stations that remain open are horrific.
It is being reported that some people are waiting in line for hours for gasoline in some areas and that state troopers have actually been deployed at every gas station along the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway.
The following is how one New Jersey mayor described the situation…
“Gas lines are stretching for a couple of miles,” said Anthony Ammiano, mayor of Freehold, N.J., who recalled the oil crisis of the 1970s. “It’s like the Jimmy Carter years. It’s a flashback of bad memories.”
There have even been reports of people literally fighting each other over gasoline…
“It’s so crazy. Cars are pulling up and people are fighting each other. There is no gas around here,” said Mena Aziz, who manages a Gulf Express station in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. “It’s been so busy.”
According to Breitbart, there have been continuous reports of “fistfights and people bringing guns to gas stations” on Twitter. The following are a couple of examples…
Just awful! RT @metrogypsy: Someone just pulled a knife at Greenpoint #gas station as line stretches with hours long wait #gettingrealFAST
— Camila Xavier (@camilaxavier) November 1, 2012
You know things are bad when you ask the gas station attendent “when do you think you’re going to get more gas?” and he just laughs at you.
— Prede (@predederva) November 1, 2012
Unfortunately, authorities are projecting that the gas shortage may last for another week at least.
How angry and frustrated will people get by that time?
There are vast stretches of the Jersey Shore and the coast of Long Island that will never be the same again. The following is an excerpt from a comment that a reader of mine from Long Island left on one of my recent articles…
I live in Massapequa NY …..No power to 95%. almost every home south of Merrick Road ( 1.5 miles from open water ) has been flooded. No electricity, no supermarkets in immediate area, no gas (approx 80% of gas stations closed on Long Island).
This was not just another storm. It was a life-altering event for millions of people.
Unfortunately, just as we have seen after every other major storm in recent years, looters are taking advantage of the chaos caused by Hurricane Sandy.
According to the New York Post, a number of arrests for looting have already been made on Long Island…
In the Rockaways, lowlifes were sneaking into clothing stores and cleaning out pizzerias. Two men and a woman were arrested for robbing a BP gas station on Beach Channel Drive, three men and one woman were cuffed for pillaging a Radio Shack on Beach 88th Street, and two people were arrested for raiding a clothing store near Beach 86th Street, cops said. Stores were emptied along a two-block stretch of Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island. Seven people were busted.
Over on Coney Island, looting appeared to be out of control during the immediate aftermath of the storm…
Thieves broke in to the badly damaged Mega Aid Pharmacy on Mermaid Avenue and reportedly stole more than 10,000 pharmaceutical items, including prescription drugs.
“The water went away and these people started walking down the streets and just robbed stores,” a pharmacy worker told HuffPo’s Andy Campbell.
Manager Stan Gutkin said the major heist essentially “breaks the business.”
Looters reportedly also targeted banks, other shops, and other pharmacies.
And residents are noticing.
“People are turning on each other — they’re attacking each other,” Ocean Towers resident Dena Wells told Campbell.
Amazingly, a number of not-so-smart looters have actually been displaying their looted goods on Twitter. Just check out the shocking photos in this article.
But most people living in the areas that were most affected by Hurricane Sandy are decent people that just want some assistance. One resident of Hoboken, New Jersey became so frustrated that he inflated an air mattress and used it to float down to city hall in an attempt to get some answers…
Nearly 20,000 people have been trapped at home in the New Jersey city of Hoboken, just across the Hudson River from New York City, amid accusations that officials were slow to deliver food and water.
One man blew up an air mattress and floated to City Hall, demanding to know why supplies had not reached residents – at least a quarter of homes there are flooded and 90% do not have power.
Just like we saw after Hurricane Katrina, the response by the federal government and by big aid agencies such as the Red Cross has been very slow. In fact, Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro has gone so far as to call the Red Cross an “absolute disgrace” and is urging people that live in his area to quit giving money to them…
“You know, I went to a shelter Monday night after the storm. People were coming in with no socks, with no shoes. They were in desperate need. Their housing was destroyed. They were crying. Where was the Red Cross? Isn’t that their function? They collect millions of dollars. Whenever there’s a drive in Staten Island, we give openly and honestly. Where are they? Where are they? I was at the South Shore yesterday, people were buried in their homes. There the dogs are trying to find bodies. The people there, the neighbors who had no electricity, were making soup. Making soup. It’s very emotional because the lack of a response. The lack of a response. They’re supposed to be here….They should be on the front lines fighting, and helping the people.”
If this is how angry and frustrated that people become over a temporary disaster, how angry and frustrated would they get if there was a total economic meltdown that was permanent?
Sadly, the truth is that what we are seeing during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is just a very small preview of what is coming on a national level.
Our economy is a complete and total mess right now, and things are going to get a whole lot worse.
When unemployment starts skyrocketing again and large segments of the population realize that there is no hope for a turnaround, many of them are going to totally give in to despair and become very desperate.
And as we are seeing along the Jersey Shore and on Long Island right now, desperate people do desperate things.
That is why I am constantly pounding on the need to prepare for what is ahead. There are signs of social decay all around us, and most Americans are not equipped to deal with the pressures that come with a major emergency. When things totally fall apart, you don’t want your family to be totally unprepared and surrounded by millions of angry and desperate people.
Hopefully Hurricane Sandy will serve as a wake up call for millions of American families. Time is definitely running out, and we all need to get prepared while we still can.
It is hard to put into words the absolute devastation that we are seeing along many areas of the east coast right now. Boats have been washed ashore, homes have been razed, some coastal roads have been essentially destroyed, and large numbers of people are still trapped in their homes by flood waters. It is being reported that more than 50 people are dead and more than 8 million people along the east coast have lost power. Those without power might not get it back for a week or more. In New York City, an all-time record storm surge of almost 14 feet caused incredible destruction. It is going to take months for New York City to recover, and along the Jersey coast things are even worse. Hurricane Sandy really did turn out to be “the worst case scenario” for much of the eastern seaboard. At this point more than 15,000 flights have been cancelled, and nobody knows when subway service in New York City is going to be restored. More than 4 million people a day use that subway system, and right now many of the most important tunnels are absolutely flooded with water. Sadly, this crisis is far from over. The storm formerly known as Hurricane Sandy has moved inland over Pennsylvania where it continues to do a tremendous amount of damage. The full extent of the destruction caused by this storm will probably not be known for weeks.
We have truly seen some unprecedented things during this storm. For example, a 168 foot long tanker was driven ashore on Staten Island. Right now the tanker is sitting on Front Street.
In the beachfront Queens neighborhood of Breezy Point, a massive fire broke out and burned just about everything that was not already flooded. The blaze destroyed close to 100 homes, and by the end of the fire more than 190 firefighters were battling it.
Some areas in the West Virginia mountains have already had up to 3 feet of snow, and yet it just continues to fall. When all of that snow starts to melt in a few days, tremendous flooding is anticipated.
The northeast has never seen a storm quite like this, and the ripple effects are going to be felt for years to come.
The following are 18 startling quotes about the incredible destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy…
#1 New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
“The devastation on the Jersey Shore is some of the worst we’ve ever seen. The cost of the storm is incalculable at this point.”
#2 MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota
“The New York City subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night. Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on our entire transportation system, in every borough and county of the region. It has brought down trees, ripped out power and inundated tunnels, rail yards and bus depots. As of last night, seven subway tunnels under the East River flooded. Metro-North Railroad lost power from 59th Street to Croton-Harmon on the Hudson Line and to New Haven on the New Haven Line. The Long Island Rail Road evacuated its West Side Yards and suffered flooding in one East River tunnel. The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel is flooded from end to end and the Queens Midtown Tunnel also took on water and was closed. Six bus garages were disabled by high water. We are assessing the extent of the damage and beginning the process of recovery. Our employees have shown remarkable dedication over the past few days, and I thank them on behalf of every New Yorker. In 108 years, our employees have never faced a challenge like the one that confronts us now. All of us at the MTA are committed to restoring the system as quickly as we can to help bring New York back to normal.”
#3 Hoboken, New Jersey Mayor Dawn Zimmer
“The Hudson River came in and filled half of Hoboken like a bathtub”
#4 Little Ferry resident Leo Quigley
“I looked out and the next thing you know, the water just came up through the grates. It came up so quickly you couldn’t do anything about it. If you wanted to move your car to higher ground you didn’t have enough time”
#5 New Jersey resident Montgomery Dahm
“I mean, there’s cars that are just completely underwater in some of the places I would never believe that there would be water.”
#6 Mobile home park resident Juan Allen
“I watched a tree crush a guy’s house like a wet sponge.”
#7 Angela Valenta, mother of 9-year-old Angelo Valenta
“He kept saying, ‘Am I going to die?'”
#8 U.S. Representative Bob Turner
“I, along with many other Breezy Point residents, lost our homes last night and I am grateful that my family and I are safe after this destructive storm. I hope you will join me in lending a hand to those who were less fortunate and keep everyone impacted by this storm in your thoughts and prayers.”
#9 Long Branch, New Jersey resident David Arnold
“The ocean is in the road, there are trees down everywhere. I’ve never seen it this bad.”
#10 New York resident William Yaeck
“I am looking outside of my sixth-floor apartment, and I see that a new lake has formed in the parking lot adjacent (to) my building”
#11 Motel owner Peter Sandomeno
“There are boats in the street five blocks from the ocean”
#12 West Virginia meteorologist Reed Timmer
“It’s 3 feet of heavy snow. It’s like concrete”
#13 Maryland State Police dispatcher Bill Wiltson
“It’s like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs up here”
#14 Con Edison spokeswoman Sara Banda
“This is the largest storm-related outage in history”
#15 John Miksad, senior vice president for electric operations at Con Edison
“This will be one for the record books”
#16 New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg
“Clearly the challenges our city faces in the coming days are enormous”
#17 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
“You want to talk about a situation that gets old very quickly. You are sitting in a house with no power and you can’t open the refrigerator”
#18 National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Pollina
“It was an extremely devastating and destructive storm, hopefully one that people will only see once in their lifetime”
So what will this storm ultimately cost the U.S. economy? Well, Fox News is reporting that the total cost could reach 45 billion dollars. Others estimate that the economic toll may be even higher than that.
But one thing is for certain – at a time when layoffs are already surging, this is definitely not going to help. The U.S. economy is showing lots of signs of slowing down again, and this storm may have just nudged us even farther in that direction.
Hopefully we will have some time to recover before the next major crisis strikes, but with the election coming up early next week that does not seem too likely.
The biggest storm to ever hit the northeast United States is creating a tremendous amount of havoc up and down the eastern seaboard. It is hard to describe how gigantic this storm actually is. From end to end, Hurricane Sandy is more than 1000 miles across. It is twice the size of the state of Texas, and meteorologists are calling this storm a “worst case scenario“. It is currently coming ashore in New Jersey, but this is just the beginning. A winter storm approaching from the west is going to combine with Hurricane Sandy, and the combined storm is projected to hammer the northeast with wind and rain all the way through the end of the week. Meteorologists all over the nation are saying that they have never seen anything like this. Hurricane Sandy is the biggest storm in modern U.S. history, and earlier today the storm pressure was recorded to be even lower than the Long Island Express Hurricane of 1938. In fact, Hurricane Sandy has the lowest pressure ever recorded for any storm north of the state of North Carolina. On Monday evening it was packing maximum sustained winds of about 90 miles per hour, and hurricane-force winds could be felt as far out as 175 miles from the center of the storm. To say that this storm is a major disaster is a tremendous understatement.
On Monday night, it is projected that wind speeds in New York City could reach 80 miles per hour. But that is only part of the story. The higher you go, the more intense the winds will be. For example, if you live 30 stories above New York, a gust of wind at 80 miles per hour on the ground will be close to 100 miles per hour for you.
New York City has never seen anything quite like this. Anything that is not completely secured is in danger of being picked up by the wind and hurled down the streets. The damage that will be caused by flying projectiles alone is likely to be immense.
On Monday afternoon it was being reported that a giant crane working on the top of a new skyscraper known as One57 had broken because of the wind and was in danger of totally collapsing. One57 is going to have some of the most beautiful apartments in New York City. In fact, the penthouse recently sold for $90 million. But this just shows us that despite our great advances we are more vulnerable to nature than we might like to think.
But of course wind is not the only problem that New York City will be facing. Hurricane Sandy is pushing a massive wall of water in front of it. It is being estimated that water levels could reach up to 11 feet above normal along Long Island Sound and in New York Harbor. A lot of areas that have never been under water before will experience tremendous flooding as a result of this storm.
Overall, it is being projected that 60 million Americans will be affected by this storm. So far, about 14,000 flights have been cancelled and more flight cancellations are anticipated.
More than 2 million homes and businesses have already lost power, and by the end of this disaster it is estimated that up to 10 million people could lose power. Once people do lose power, they might not get it back for a week or more.
Essentially, the entire northeast will be shut down for most of this week. This is going to be a storm that nobody will forget any time soon. It is going to take many months to clean up the mess that this storm will create.
But if you don’t live near the coast don’t think that you will be able to escape the worst of this storm. The center of the storm is projected to stall somewhere over Pennsylvania, and some areas to the west are going to get tremendous amounts of snow.
For example, it is being forecast that some areas in the mountains of West Virginia could see up to 3 feet of snow before this is all over.
This is an extremely unusual storm. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy says that this is “the most catastrophic event” that his state has had to deal with…
“This is the most catastrophic event that we have faced and been able to plan for in any of our lifetimes.”
Stu Ostro, the senior director of weather communications at The Weather Channel, says that this is “the big one” that meteorologists dream of…
“When I was a young boy growing up in the Northeast (New Jersey) and obsessed with the weather, I used to wonder what it’d be like when the big one comes. Well, we’re about to find out.”
The storm is just now starting to come ashore, and it has already done a tremendous amount of damage all along he east coast. For example, earlier today an 80 foot section of the Atlantic City boardwalk was spotted floating free down the streets of Atlantic City.
In New York City, large sections of Battery Park, Brooklyn and Wall Street are already underwater. There are some that even believe that parts of LaGuardia airport could be underwater before this is all over.
The New York Stock Exchange will be closed once again on Tuesday, and many are hoping that it will be able to reopen on Wednesday. But at this point that looks like it will be quite a challenge.
The power of this storm is being felt over a vast area of the country. Just check out what meteorologists are saying conditions will shortly be like along the Great Lakes…
A gale warning has been issued for Lake Huron from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, with waves expected to reach a maximum of 17 to 24 feet. The National Weather Service in Chicago on Sunday issued a gale warning for Lake Michigan, predicting waves as high as 33 feet by Tuesday. Vessels were advised to seek safe harbor.
33 foot high waves on Lake Michigan?
That is crazy.
And obviously the economic impact of this storm is going to be absolutely massive. Some are projecting that this storm will cost the U.S. economy 10 billion dollars a day. Others believe that it will be even worse. As I noted yesterday, one meteorologist believes that this gigantic storm could potentially cause a total of 100 billion dollars in damage to the U.S. economy.
If you live in an area that is in the path of this storm, please do your best to stay safe and stay dry. This is definitely not a storm to be taken lightly.
So what are you seeing in your area? Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts on the storm below…
Meteorologists are warning that Hurricane Sandy could potentially be the worst storm to hit the east coast of the United States in 100 years. Do you remember “the perfect storm” back in 1991? That storm was so bad that Hollywood made a blockbuster movie starring George Clooney about it. Well, this storm is going to be much worse. When I first heard about Hurricane Sandy, I didn’t make that much of it. I figured that the east coast would get some wind and some rain and that they would whine about it a bit but that everything would be just fine. But then I started looking into this storm a bit more. It turns out that this storm is even larger than Hurricane Katrina was. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has categorized the destructive potential of this storm to be 5.8 on a scale that goes from 0 to 6. So don’t be fooled when you hear that this is only a “category 1 storm” or that the maximum winds will only be around 80 MPH. It is the unprecedented size of this storm and the mind boggling storm surges that it is producing that truly make it dangerous. It is being reported that Hurricane Sandy is more than 1,000 miles across from one end to the other. Meteorologists have never seen anything quite like this before, and we are most definitely in unprecedented territory. One meteorologist is already projecting that this megastorm could cause 100 billion dollars in damage, but the true amount of devastation will likely not be fully known for weeks. If you live in the northeast part of the United States, you definitely want to buckle up because you are about to get absolutely hammered.
The following are 17 things that you should know about Hurricane Sandy…
#1 Hurricane Sandy has been dubbed “the Frankenstorm” and many believe that this could be the worst storm to hit the east coast in 100 years.
#2 This is an absolutely massive megastorm. It is being reported that tropical storm-force winds can be felt 520 miles away from the center of the storm.
#3 It is being reported that the sheer size of this storm is absolutely unprecedented…
Since records of storm size began in 1988, no tropical storm or hurricane has been larger, reports meteorologist Jeff Masters of the Weather Underground.
#4 Hurricane Sandy has already forced the cancellation of over 5,000 flights.
#5 Mayor Bloomberg has announced a mandatory evacuation for all New York City residents that are living in “Zone A”.
#6 It is being projected that the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy could be up to 15 feet above sea level in some areas of New York City.
#7 New York City could potentially experience wind speeds of 80 MPH or higher.
#8 Subway service in New York City is being shut down at 7 PM on Sunday evening. There is a very real possibility that the New York City subway system could be severely flooded by this storm. That could be quite crippling, because about 4.3 million people ride the subway in New York every single day.
#9 It has been announced that all public schools in New York City will be closed on Monday.
#10 Schools in Boston will be shut down on Monday as well.
#11 The trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange will be closed on Monday.
#12 50,000 people living along the coast in Delaware have been ordered to evacuate.
#13 Some parts of Kentucky, West Virginia and North Carolina could get up to 2 feet of snow.
#14 It is being estimated that 10 million people living along the east coast could lose power thanks to Hurricane Sandy.
#15 A state of emergency has already been declared in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia.
#16 Approximately 50 million people live in the areas that will be directly affected by this storm.
#17 Meteorologist Mike Smith of AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions is projecting that Hurricane Sandy could potentially cause a total of 100 billion dollars in damage to the U.S. economy. That would make it a far more costly disaster than Hurricane Katrina.
Many meteorologists are calling this storm a “worst case scenario”. If you live along the east coast, please take the warnings that you are getting from public officials very seriously. According to NPR, conditions are absolutely perfect for this slow moving giant storm, and it is going to take quite a few days for it to exit the region…
In this case, seas will be amped up by giant waves and full-moon-powered high tides. That will combine with drenching rains, triggering inland flooding as the hurricane merges with a winter storm system that will worsen it and hold it in place for days.
Louis Uccellini, environmental prediction chief for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told The Associated Press that given Sandy’s due east-to-west track into New Jersey, that puts the worst of the storm surge just north in New York City, Long Island and northern New Jersey. “Yes, this is the worst case scenario,” he said.
Please do not underestimate this storm. This is unlike anything that any of us have ever seen before.
If you live in a part of the country that is being affected by this storm, please feel free to leave a comment and let us know what you are seeing in your area. It is going to be a crazy couple of days.
You can tell a lot about a nation by the condition of the infrastructure. So what does our infrastructure say about us? It says that we are in a very advanced state of decay. At this point, much of America is being held together with spit, duct tape and prayers. Our roads are crumbling and thousands of our bridges look like they could collapse at any moment. Our power grid is ancient and over a trillion gallons of untreated sewage is leaking from our aging sewer systems each year. Our airports and our seaports are clogged with far more traffic than they were ever designed to carry. Approximately a third of all of the dam failures that have taken place in the United States since 1874 have happened during the past decade. Our national parks and recreation areas have been terribly neglected and our railroads are a bad joke. Hurricane Katrina showed how vulnerable our levees are, and drinking water systems all over the country are badly outdated. Sadly, at a time when we could use significant new investment in infrastructure, our spending on infrastructure is actually way down. Back during the 50s and the 60s, the U.S. was spending between 3 and 4 percent of GDP on infrastructure. Today, that figure is down to about 2.4 percent. But of course we don’t have any extra money to spend on infrastructure because of our reckless spending and because of the massive amount of debt that we have accumulated. While the Obama administration is spending more than half a million dollars to figure out why chimpanzees throw poop, our national infrastructure is literally falling apart all around us. Once upon a time nobody else on the planet could match our infrastructure, and now we are in the process of becoming a joke to the rest of the world.
The following are 21 facts about America’s failing infrastructure that will blow your mind….
#1 The American Society of Civil Engineers has given America’s crumbling infrastructure an overall grade of D.
#2 There are simply not enough roads in the United States today. Each year, traffic jams cost the commuters of America 4.2 billion hours and about 2.8 million gallons of gasoline.
#3 It is being projected that Americans will spend an average of 160 hours stuck in traffic annually by the year 2035.
#4 Approximately one-third of all roads in the United States are in substandard condition.
#5 Close to a third of all highway fatalities are due “to substandard road conditions, obsolete road designs, or roadside hazards.”
#6 One out of every four bridges in America either carries more traffic than originally intended or is in need of repair.
#7 Repairing all of the bridges in the United States that need repair would take approximately 140 billion dollars.
#8 According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, our decaying transportation system costs the U.S. economy about 78 billion dollars annually in lost time and fuel.
#9 All over America, asphalt roads are being ground up and are being replaced with gravel roads because they are cheaper to maintain. The state of South Dakota has transformed over 100 miles of asphalt roads into gravel roads, and 38 out of the 83 counties in the state of Michigan have transformed at least some of their asphalt roads into gravel roads.
#10 There are 4,095 dams in the United States that are at risk of failure. That number has risen by more than 100 percent since 1999.
#11 Of all the dam failures that have happened in the United States since 1874, a third of them have happened during the past decade.
#12 Close to half of all U.S. households do not have access to bus or rail transit.
#13 Our aging sewer systems spill more than a trillion gallons of untreated sewage every single year. The cost of cleaning up that sewage each year is estimated to be greater than 50 billion dollars.
#14 It is estimated that rolling blackouts and inefficiencies in the U.S. electrical grid cost the U.S. economy approximately 80 billion dollars a year.
#15 It is being projected that by the year 2020 every single major container port in the United States will be handling at least double the volume that it was originally designed to handle.
#16 All across the United States, conditions at many of our state parks, recreation areas and historic sites are deplorable at best. Some states have backlogs of repair projects that are now over a billion dollars long….
More than a dozen states estimate that their backlogs are at least $100 million. Massachusetts and New York’s are at least $1 billion. Hawaii officials called park conditions “deplorable” in a December report asking for $50 million per year for five years to tackle a $240 million backlog that covers parks, trails and harbors.
#17 Today, the U.S. spends about 2.4 percent of GDP on infrastructure. Meanwhile, China spends about 9 percent of GDP on infrastructure.
#18 In the United States today, approximately 16 percent of our construction workers are unemployed.
#19 China has plans to build 55,000 miles of highways by the year 2020. If all of those roads were put end to end, it would be longer than the total length of the entire U.S. interstate system.
#20 The World Economic Forum ranks U.S. infrastructure 23rd in the world, and we fall a little bit farther behind the rest of the developed world every single day.
#21 It has been projected that it would take 2.2 trillion dollars over the next 5 years just to repair our existing infrastructure. That does not even include a single penny for badly needed new infrastructure.
So where did we go wrong?
Well, one of the big problems is that we have become a very materialistic society that is obsessed with short-term thinking. Investing in infrastructure is something that has long-term benefits, but these days Americans tend to only be focused on what is happening right now and most politicians are only focused on the next election cycle.
Another major problem is that there is so much corruption and waste in our system these days. The government certainly spends more than enough money, but very little of that money is spent wisely. A lot of the money that could be going toward rebuilding our infrastructure is being poured down the toilet instead. For much more on this, please read my previous article entitled “16 Sickening Facts That Show How Members Of Congress And Federal Workers Are Living The High Life At Your Expense“.
Unfortunately, it is probably appropriate that our infrastructure is decaying because we are decaying in just about every other way that it is possible for a society to decay.
We are decaying economically, politically, mentally, emotionally, physically, morally and spiritually.
We are a complete and total mess. So why shouldn’t what is happening to our infrastructure on the outside match what is happening to us as a nation on the inside?
And sadly, we simply do not have the money that we need for infrastructure because of all the debt that we have piled up. The federal government, our state governments and our local governments are all struggling to stay afloat in an ocean of red ink, and unfortunately that means that spending on infrastructure is likely to be cut even more in the years ahead.
So get used to rotting, crumbling, decaying infrastructure. What you see out there right now is only just the beginning.
Sometimes we all get a little reminder of just how completely and totally dependent we are on the power grid. Massive thunderstorms that ripped through Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C. and Virginia left millions without power over the weekend. At this point it is being projected that some people may not get power back until the end of the week. The “super derecho” storm that pounded the Washington D.C. area on Friday night with hurricane-force winds is being called unprecedented. But the truth is that there are other events that could happen that would be far more damaging to our power grid. For example, a substantial EMP burst over a major U.S. city would fry virtually all of the electronics in the city and take the power grid in the area down indefinitely. A gigantic EMP burst over the entire country (caused by a massive solar storm or a very large nuclear explosion high in the atmosphere) could theoretically take down the entire national power grid. Just try to imagine a world where nobody has any electricity, nobody can pump gas, nobody can use their credit cards or get any more money, where most vehicles won’t start, where nobody has the Internet, where all cell phones are dead and where nobody can heat or cool their homes. That is how serious an EMP burst could potentially be. We are talking about an event that could be millions of times worse than 9/11.
Hopefully this latest storm has reminded Americans about how vulnerable our power grid really is and about how close we really are to being knocked back to the late 1800s.
Let’s review some of the damage that this “super derecho” storm caused to the D.C. area….
-Thousands of businesses have been forced to close temporarily because they cannot operate without electricity
-Many federal agencies were closed on Monday because there was no power
-Many 911 call centers throughout Northern Virginia were down over the weekend and could not respond to emergencies
-Without electricity, many families have not been able to cook warm meals
-Without warm water, many families have not been able to take hot showers
-A “boil water advisory” was put into effect for several areas of northern Virginia
-Many families that still do not have power are in danger of losing much of the food in their refrigerators and freezers
-Many gas stations were not able to operate because of a lack of electricity and so this has made filling up the gas tank a major hassle for many families
-Hundreds of traffic lights are still out and this is making commuting a major problem in some areas
-Without air conditioning many families are absolutely sweltering as high temperatures remain well above 90 degrees
-During the power outage some people have been without cell phone service because many cell phone towers were inoperable
-Without electricity, thousands upon thousands of people have not been able to use their computers for several days and this is causing a lot of frustration
-Several major websites were totally knocked offline by the storms as Robert McMillan of Wired Magazine explained….
Hurricane-like storms knocked an Amazon data center in Ashburn, Virginia, offline last night, and a chunk of the internet felt it. The six-hour incident temporarily cut off a number of popular internet services, including Netflix, Pinterest, Heroku, and Instagram.
But to be honest this was not a major disaster.
After a few days the damage will be fixed and people will start to forget what just happened.
Well, what if the damage was permanent and the entire nation had to go without electricity for the foreseeable future? The following is from a USA Today article by Dan Vergano….
The sky erupts. Cities darken, food spoils and homes fall silent. Civilization collapses.
End-of-the-world novel? A video game? Or could such a scenario loom in America’s future?
There is talk of catastrophe ahead, depending on whom you believe, because of the threat of an electromagnetic pulse triggered by either a supersized solar storm or terrorist A-bomb, both capable of disabling the electric grid that powers modern life.
As I have written about previously, an EMP attack could fundamentally change life in America in a single instant.
What would you do if such a scenario happened?
Would you try to go somewhere? Even if the electronics in your car were not totally fried, you would not be able to pump more gas anywhere.
Would you try to call someone? Most phones would be totally dead and all normal communications networks would be down. So who would you call?
Would you bunker down and try to survive on what you have at home? Most of the food in your refrigerator and freezer would rapidly go bad and most Americans only have enough food to last a few days or a few weeks. In addition, most Americans would no longer be able to heat or cool their homes, so extreme cold and extreme heat would become huge problems very quickly.
How in the world would any of us survive in a world without electricity?
In past centuries our forefathers knew how to survive in such a world, but most of us do not have the same skills or resources that they had.
The following is how an article in the Wall Street Journal once described what a massive EMP burst would do to this nation….
No American would necessarily die in the initial attack, but what comes next is potentially catastrophic. The pulse would wipe out most electronics and telecommunications, including the power grid. Millions could die for want of modern medical care or even of starvation since farmers wouldn’t be able to harvest crops and distributors wouldn’t be able to get food to supermarkets. Commissioner Lowell Wood calls EMP attack a “giant continental time machine” that would move us back more than a century in technology to the late 1800s.
What would you do if you were suddenly cut off from all electricity, all money, all modern forms of communication, all modern forms of transportation and all modern forms of shopping?
Don’t think that it can’t happen.
Scientists tell us that massive EMP bursts generated by gigantic solar storms have hit our planet in the past and that it is inevitable that it will happen again.
In addition, nations all over the planet are aware of what an EMP burst can do and have been developing “Super-EMP” weapons that can take power grids down in a single strike.
The following is a short excerpt from a statement by Dr. Peter Vincent Pry to the United States Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security on March 8th, 2005….
Russian and Chinese military scientists in open source writings describe the basic principles of nuclear weapons designed specifically to generate an enhanced-EMP effect, that they term “Super-EMP” weapons. “Super-EMP” weapons, according to these foreign open source writings, can destroy even the best protected U.S. military and civilian electronic systems.
That doesn’t sound good.
But perhaps even more troubling is that North Korea has been reportedly developing this type of weapon. In fact, it has been reported that North Korea may have tested a “Super-EMP” weapon all the way back in 2009….
North Korea’s last round of tests, conducted in May 2009, appear to have included a “super-EMP” weapon, capable of emitting enough gamma rays to disable the electric power grid across most of the lower 48 states
In time, these kinds of weapons will get into more and more hands.
Will someone try to use this kind of weapon at some point?
Frank Gaffney, the president of the Center for Security Policy, believes that a single EMP burst could potentially end up killing the vast majority of the population of the United States….
“Within a year of that attack, nine out of 10 Americans would be dead, because we can’t support a population of the present size in urban centers and the like without electricity”
Once you understand these kinds of threats, it makes it a lot easier to understand why preppers are so busy preparing for the future.
Our world is becoming incredibly unstable. Another major economic crisis could hit us at any time, war in the Middle East could erupt without warning, earthquakes and other natural disasters are becoming more frequent and society seems to get a little crazier with each passing day.
The era of tremendous peace and prosperity that we have all been enjoying is rapidly coming to an end. In a world filled with instability and chaos, it only seems prudent to take some precautions.
You might want to get prepared while you still have time.
There has been a natural disaster that has caused at least a billion dollars of damage inside the United States every single month so far this year. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there have been 10 major disasters in the United States this year. On average, usually there are only about 3 major disasters a year. At this point, disasters are happening inside the United States so frequently that there seems to be no gap between them. We just seem to go from one major disaster to the next. Last year, FEMA declared an all-time record of 81 disasters inside the United States. This year, we are on pace for well over 100. We just got done dealing with Hurricane Irene, and now we are dealing with historic wildfires in Texas and unprecedented flooding up in the northeast part of the country. This has been the worst year for natural disasters in U.S. history, and we still have nearly four months left to go. Hopefully after everything that has happened this year it has become abundantly clear to all of us why we need to prepare for emergencies. The world is becoming an increasingly unstable place, and you never know what is going to happen next.
Thankfully, the U.S. has not experienced a disaster on the level of Hurricane Katrina so far this year, but what makes this year different is that we have never seen so many major disasters happen so rapidly. Since the beginning of the year we have had to deal with record-setting winter storms, nightmarish tornadoes, “once in a century” earthquakes, historic flooding all over the country, severe drought and some of the worst wildfires the U.S. has ever experienced.
Is there a reason why the United States is being hit by major disaster after major disaster or is all of this just a really unfortunately coincidence? The following are just a few of the nightmarish natural disasters that the U.S. has had to deal with so far this year…..
At this point, the state of Texas has been on fire for nearly 300 consecutive days. This has been the worst wildfire season that Texas has ever experienced.
So far, an astounding 3.6 million acres has been burned. Vast stretches of Texas have been transformed into desolate wastelands.
Over the past week alone, the Texas Forest Service has responded to more than 180 new fires. The incredibly dry weather and the scorching temperatures have combined to turn the state of Texas into a tinderbox.
One massive wildfire near Austin, Texas has burned approximately 1,400 homes and continues to spread. The state desperately needs rain and it needs it now.
To get an idea of just how fast the fires in Texas are spreading, just watch this video.
Right now, approximately 81 percent of the state of Texas is experiencing “exceptional drought” conditions. Not only has this created an ideal environment for wildfires, it is also absolutely crippling ranchers and farmers.
Farmers in Texas have lost over half of the cotton crop so far. This is likely to cause clothing prices to rise substantially in the months ahead.
Ranchers in Texas have been forced to slaughter huge numbers of cattle because the drought has made it incredibly difficult to feed them. Sadly, the number of U.S. cattle is now down to its lowest level since 1963.
You might want to stock up on beef. In the coming months the price of beef is likely to go significantly higher.
It is hard to describe just how bad things are down in Texas right now. Overall, it is estimated that the drought has caused more than $5 billion in damage to the agricultural industry so far.
But wait, there is more bad news. In fact, if things don’t improve soon we could see massive problems with winter wheat. Just check out what an article recently posted on Yahoo news had to say….
The bad news does not stop there. Winter-wheat-planting season runs from September through October and rain is vital to germination. Texas and Oklahoma produce almost a third of winter wheat in the U.S. – the hard wheat used in bread products. This week, Bloomberg financial news quoted wheat economists predicting a 50% jump in winter-wheat prices. If the dearth of rain continues and there is no moisture in the soil to germinate the wheat, prices could climb higher still.
Flooding In The Northeast
We just got done with Hurricane Irene, and now Tropical Storm Lee is dumping huge amounts of rain all over the northeast United States. In fact, there has been so much rain up in Pennsylvania that more than 100,000 people were evacuated from the Wilkes-Barre area on Thursday because of rising waters on the Susquehanna River.
Rivers and creeks all over Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey are flooding. The region desperately needs a break from rain, but it does not look like that is going to happen quite yet.
The big problem is that many of these areas had already been hit really hard by Hurricane Irene. As a result of Hurricane Irene, millions of people lost power and dozens of people lost their lives. Hurricane Irene caused the worst flooding that Vermont had experienced since 1927, and the total economic damage from Irene could reach as high as $16 billion.
Now there are three more storms in the Atlantic that we will have to keep an eye on. Hopefully Tropical Storm Nate, Tropical Storm Maria and Hurricane Katia will not cause major problems, but with the way this year has been going you never know what is going to happen.
As I have written about previously, the number of major earthquakes around the globe is significantly increasing. Back in 2001, the world had 1361 earthquakes of magnitude-5.0 or greater. This year, we are on pace to have over 2800, which would be the highest number this decade by far.
Just a couple of weeks ago, the U.S. experienced two of the weirdest earthquakes that it has seen in ages. The earthquake in Virginia that made headlines all over the nation is being called a “once a century” earthquake. The east coast very rarely sees anything like this happen.
The earthquake in Virginia was felt all the way down in Georgia and it was felt all the way up in Ottawa, Canada. It was felt as far west as Cleveland, Ohio.
In Washington D.C., the earthquake caused quite a bit of panic. Congressional buildings were evacuated and so was the Pentagon. The earthquake actually cracked the Washington Monument and it also caused significant damage to the U.S. Treasury building.
That exact same day, there was another very “unusual” earthquake in another area of the United States. A magnitude-5.3 earthquake shook the area along the Colorado/New Mexico border. That was the largest earthquake that region had experienced in more than 40 years.
Sadly, it is not just the U.S. that has been hit by significant earthquakes this year. Just check out what a recent article in the Guardian had to say about what has been going on around the globe so far this year….
6.2 or above earthquakes have hit New Zealand, the Philippines, Japan, the Fox Islands, Papua New Guinea, Mexico, Indonesia, Fiji, Thailand, Burma, Vanuatu, Argentina, Chile and Iran in the first six months of 2011.
With all of the other natural disasters that we have had recently, it is easy to forget that we just went through one of the worst tornado seasons of all time.
In a recent article, I discussed the incredible damage that some of these monstrous tornadoes did….
The United States experienced a truly bizarre tornado season this year. In April, there were approximately 600 tornadoes all across America. That is the most tornadoes that have ever been recorded in a single month inside the United States. Usually, we only have about 1,200 tornadoes for the entire year.
The massive tornado outbreak in the southeast at the end of April is being called the worst natural disaster since Hurricane Katrina. One F5 tornado that ripped through the Tuscaloosa, Alabama region was reportedly a mile wide and some scientists estimated that it had winds that exceeded 260 miles an hour. By the time it passed, Tuscaloosa resembled a war zone.
The tornado that ripped through Joplin, Missouri a few months ago is being called the deadliest single tornado in more than 60 years. It ripped a path of destruction more than a mile wide and more than 6 miles long directly through the city. One British newspaper has some amazing before and after pictures of Joplin that you can view right here.
After viewing pictures such as those, what else is there to say?
Sadly, there were a lot of other major disasters this year that deserve be discussed as well.
For example, I have not even mentioned the nightmarish flooding along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. River systems all over the central part of the country experienced “hundred year floods” this year.
So why is all of this happening? Is there a reason for all of this chaos, or has it just been one of those years?
Whatever your opinion is, what we all should be able to learn from this year is that it is imperative that we all get prepared ahead of time for emergencies.
Natural disasters can strike at any time. Whether it is a hurricane, a tornado, a flood, an earthquake, a volcano or a wildfire, if you wait until the disaster strikes to prepare then you are going to be too late.
But most natural disasters are only temporary. Even more frightening is what an economic collapse, a war, a deadly plague, a nuclear disaster, an EMP strike or a weapon of mass destruction could mean.
As we have seen during so many disasters in the past, when something really bad happens food and supplies vanish from store shelves almost immediately. If transportation is cut off, you could be on your own for an extended period of time.
Our world is becoming a highly unstable place. If someone had told you all of the crazy things that were going to happen this year, would you have believed them?
It seems like with each passing year things are getting crazier and crazier. Yes, we can all hope that things will return to “normal”, but we would be foolish if we also did not take precautions.
As I have written about before, the global economy is starting to collapse, the fabric of society is coming apart and the earth itself seems to be going crazy.
We certainly do live in interesting times. The years ahead promise to be some of the most exciting in human history. But those that are unprepared could end up going through a massive amount of pain.
So please prepare while there is still time. You will not always be able to run out to Wal-Mart and buy up all of the cheap stuff that you need.
Anyone with half a brain can see the dark storm clouds gathering on the horizon. Very, very difficult times are coming, and you do not want to enter them unprepared.