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Red Flag Warning: These California Wildfires Are ‘Among The Most Destructive Fire Events In US History’ And They Are About To Get Even Worse

The wildfires that are roaring through northern California are already “among the most destructive fire events in U.S. history”, and by the time it is all said and done this could be the worst wildfire season in the history of the state.  So far, fires have scorched more than 250 square miles, and more than 3,500 homes and businesses have already been destroyed.  The official death toll has risen to 21, but that is expected to rise dramatically because over 600 missing persons reports have been filed with authorities.  The worst damage has been done in Napa and Sonoma counties, and you can see some deeply troubling photos of the devastation here and here.

Unfortunately, this crisis is far from over.  In fact, the National Weather Service has just issued a pair of “red flag warnings”

The weather forecast is not looking good for those living in wine country, and for those firefighters trying to get a handle on the 22 wildfires raging through Northern California, which broke out Sunday and are barely contained more than three days later.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for the North and East bays starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday and midnight on Thursday respectively.

That means winds can gust from 20 mph to 50 mph in the higher elevation areas, fanning the flames down mountains and into the cities.

So as bad as things are at this moment, the truth is that they are going to get even worse over the next 24 hours.

And that is quite sobering to hear, because this is already one of “the most destructive fire events in U.S. history”

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said fire activity increased significantly, destroying more buildings and forcing more mandatory evacuations. The wind-whipped, fast moving cluster of blazes ranks among the most destructive fire events in U.S. history.

“This is a serious, critical, catastrophic event,” Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott said. “It’s pure devastation, and it’s going to take a while to get out and comb through all this.”

Of course this crisis comes on the heels of several other major disasters.  In recent weeks our nation has had to deal with Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and the Las Vegas shooting, and many have pointed out that the U.S. has not seen a series of disastrous events such as this in a very long time.

It would be hard to overstate the devastation that we have witnessed in northern California so far.  In some areas, it literally looks like a war zone

‘It looks like a bombing run here,’ said winemaker Joe Nielsen of Santa Rosa’s Donelan Family Wines, speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle. ‘Just chimneys and burnt-out cars and cooked trees.’

What would you do if your home burned to the ground?

Perhaps you could use the insurance money to rebuild eventually, but what would you do in the meanwhile?

Everywhere you go in northern California the smell of smoke fills the air.  At this point it is so bad that even San Francisco is reporting “the worst air quality ever recorded”

“We are reporting the worst air quality ever recorded for smoke in many parts of the Bay Area,” said Tom Flannigan, spokesman for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. “This is similar to what you see in Beijing China in bad air days there.”

Soot readings in many areas have reached levels considered very unhealthy or hazardous, air quality regulators said.

And the economic damage that is being done by these fires is going to be felt for many, many years to come.

As the quote below explains, California accounts for approximately 85 percent of the wine production in the United States, and Napa and Sonoma counties are the heart of the wine industry in the state…

Wine industry experts say that even if a winery’s vineyards remain standing, they face steep challenges as their employees struggle with burned or damaged homes. The region counts wine and tourism as top employers, and many workers who pick grapes or work in hotels may be compelled to relocate after losing everything.

Napa and Sonoma counties are home to around 900 wineries (of 4,600 statewide), with most boutique businesses making higher-end wines. The two counties represent 13% of the state’s output. And the state itself supplies 85% of the nation’s wine production, making it the fourth-largest producer of wines after Italy, France and Spain.

Expect the price of wine to go up substantially in the months ahead, and this is going to be a huge hit for one of the most economically prosperous areas of the state.  Many of the facilities that have been destroyed will never be rebuilt, and needless to say the tourism industry in northern California will not be the same for a very long time.

But the true extent of the devastation will not be known until the crisis is over, and it looks like the worst chapters may still be ahead.  USA Today is reporting that no rain is in the forecast, and strong winds are going to continue to push wildfires very rapidly across the region…

“No rainfall is forecast for ongoing fires in California,” the weather service said. “Strong winds behind the front will bring elevated-to-critical fire weather threats to active fires across northern California today into Thursday.”

Please pray for the people living in northern California.  Normally, it is one of the most beautiful areas on the entire planet, but now it is literally being transformed into a complete and total nightmare.

For years, I have been writing about the alarming increase in the intensity of wildfires all over the country.  One of the big reasons for this is the fact that the federal government is not properly managing the lands under their control, and so wildfires tend to burn more rapidly on federally-owned lands.  It is time for the federal government to start turning over ownership of these lands to the states, and that is something that I plan to fight very hard to accomplish.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Another Major Disaster Hits The U.S. – A Massive ‘Firestorm’ Is Burning Tens Of Thousands Of Acres In Northern California

The nation is still reeling from a series of major disasters in recent weeks, and now another one has hit us.  At this moment, an enormous “firestorm” is consuming tens of thousands of acres in eight counties in northern California. Wind gusts of up to 50 mph are rapidly driving 15 large wildfires across Napa, Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino, Yuba, Nevada, Calaveras and Butte counties, and the devastation that is taking place is being described as “like Armageddon”.  Ultimately, it looks like this is going to be one of the worst months for wildfires in the history of the state, and all of this comes on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and the Las Vegas shooting.  Ever since late August, it seems like all hell has broken loose in America.

So far at least 1,500 structures have been destroyed, at least 20,000 people have been evacuated and at least 73,000 acres have been burned.  The smell of smoke has reached San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco, and California Governor Jerry Brown has officially declared a state of emergency.

If these wildfires were just consuming isolated parts of northern California, this wouldn’t be such a big story.  The reason why this crisis is getting so much attention from the national media is because some of these fires are raging “unchecked through high-end resorts, grocery stores and tree-lined neighborhoods”

More than a dozen wildfires whipped by powerful winds swept through California wine country Monday, destroying at least 1,500 homes and businesses and sending thousands fleeing as flames raged unchecked through high-end resorts, grocery stores and tree-lined neighborhoods.

As he fled through the ember-stewn streets of his neighborhood in Santa Rosa, Jeff Okrepkie knew it was probably the last time he would see his home of the past five years standing.

His worst fears were confirmed Monday morning, when a friend sent him a photo of what was left: a smoldering heap of burnt metal and debris.

Could you imagine how helpless you would feel if you were forced to evacuate and you knew that your home and everything that you owned was about to be consumed by fire?

That is what thousands of northern Californians are facing right now.  In fact, many are getting out with so little time to spare that they can literally feel the heat from the flames as they drive away

“It was an inferno like you’ve never seen before,” said Marian Williams, who caravanned with neighbors before dawn as one of the wildfires reached the vineyards and ridges at her small Sonoma County town of Kenwood.

Ms Williams could feel the heat of her fire through the car as she fled. “Trees were on fire like torches,” she said.

At this point, Santa Rosa appears to be getting hit worse than just about anywhere else.

According to Cal Fire director Ken Pimlott, one major neighborhood within the city has already been completely destroyed

When winds pushed the Tubbs fire into Santa Rosa on Sunday night, it created “a firestorm within a city,” Cal Fire director Ken Pimlott said.

“It’s fair to say it’s been destroyed,” Pimlot said of Santa Rosa’s Fountaingrove neighborhood. Hotels, a big box store and a high school burned as the flames danced around the 101 Freeway.

“Late last night starting around 10 o’clock you had 50-60 mph winds that surfaced — really across the whole northern half of the state,” he said. “Every spark is going to ignite.”

Authorities are telling us that the big box store that was destroyed was a Kmart, and the hotel that was burned to the ground was a Hilton.  But even more disturbing was what happened to Journey’s End retirement community

In Santa Rosa, the fire gutted a Hilton hotel and flattened the Journey’s End retirement community, a trailer park not far from the freeway that crosses the city. Most of the trailers were leveled, leaving a smoldering debris field of household appliances, filing cabinets and the charred personal effects of more than 100 residents. Pieces of ash fell like snowflake flurries, and a pall of white smoke across the city blotted out the sun.

Insurance will cover the Kmart and the Hilton, but it is probably fair to say that a lot of the people living in that trailer park did not have adequate coverage.

Sadly, many of them will now be forced to start over with essentially nothing.

I don’t know if you have noticed, but wildfires are becoming a much bigger problem than they used to be.  We were already not too far behind the record pace that was set in 2015, and if this month continues to be really bad we could potentially set the all-time national record for number of acres burned in a single year by the end of 2017.

As I discuss in my brand new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters”, our planet is becoming increasingly unstable.  And for those living in the state of California, I would be extremely concerned about all of the shaking that we have been witnessing along the North American portion of the “Ring of Fire” lately.  The experts assure us that we are way overdue for “the Big One”, and when it happens it is going to be the worst disaster in the modern history of the state.

But hopefully things will start to settle down for at least a little while in our nation, because we have been put through quite a lot lately.  After Harvey, Irma, Las Vegas and now these California wildfires, we could definitely use some time to recover.

And if you happen to live in northern California, we would love to hear from you.  Please feel free to tell us what is going on in your area by posting a comment below…

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

The Tens Of Millions Of Forgotten Americans That The U.S. Economy Has Left Behind

The evidence that the middle class in America is dying continues to mount.  As you will see below, nearly half the country would be unable “to cover an unexpected $400 expense”, and about two-thirds of the population lives paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time.  Of course the economy has not been doing that well overall in recent years.  Barack Obama was the only president in all of U.S. history not to have a single year when the economy grew by at least 3 percent, and U.S. GDP growth during the first quarter of 2017 was an anemic 0.7 percent.  During the Obama era, it is true that wealthy enclaves in New York, northern California and Washington D.C. did thrive, but meanwhile most of the rest of the country has been left behind.

Today, there are approximately 205 million working age Americans, and close to half of them have no financial cushion whatsoever.  In fact, a new survey conducted by the Federal Reserve has found that 44 percent of Americans do not even have enough money “to cover an unexpected $400 expense”

Nearly eight years into an economic recovery, nearly half of Americans didn’t have enough cash available to cover a $400 emergency. Specifically, the survey found that, in line with what the Fed had disclosed in previous years, 44% of respondents said they wouldn’t be able to cover an unexpected $400 expense like a car repair or medical bill, or would have to borrow money or sell something to meet it.

Not only that, the same survey discovered that 23 percent of U.S. adults will not be able to pay their bills this month

Just as concerning were other findings from the study: just under one-fourth of adults, or 23%, are not able to pay all of their current month’s bills in full while 25% reported skipping medical treatments due to cost in the prior year. Additionally, 28% of adults who haven’t retired yet reported to being grossly unprepared, indicating they had no retirement savings or pension whatsoever.

But just because you can pay your bills does not mean that you are doing well.  Tens of millions of Americans barely scrape by from paycheck to paycheck each and every month.

In fact, a survey by CareerBuilder discovered that 75 percent of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck at least some of the time…

Three-quarters of Americans (75 percent) are living paycheck-to-paycheck to make ends meet, according to a survey from CareerBuilder. Thirty-eight percent of employees said they sometimes live paycheck-to-paycheck, 15 percent said they usually do and 23 percent said they always do. While making ends meet is a struggle for many post-recession, those with minimum wage jobs continue to be hit the hardest. Of workers who currently have a minimum wage job or have held one in the past, 66 percent said they couldn’t make ends meet and 50 percent said they had to work more than one job to make it work.

So please don’t be fooled into thinking that the U.S. economy is doing well because the stock market has been hitting new record highs.

The stock market was soaring just before the financial crisis of 2008 too, and we remember how that turned out.

The truth is that the long-term trends that have been eating away at the foundations of the U.S. economy continue to accelerate, and the real economy is in substantially worse shape this year than it was last year.

Just about everywhere you look, businesses are struggling and stores are shutting down.  Yes, there are a few wealthy enclaves where everything seems wonderful for the moment, but for most of the country it seems like the last recession never ended.

In a desperate attempt to stay afloat, a lot of families have been turning to debt to make ends meet.  U.S. household debt has just hit a brand new all-time record high of 12.7 trillion dollars, but we are starting to see an alarming rise in auto loan defaults and consumer bankruptcies.  This is precisely what we would expect to see if the U.S. economy was moving into another major recession.

In fact, we are seeing all sorts of signs that point to a major economic slowdown right now.  Just check out the following from Wolf Richter’s latest article

Over the past five decades, each time commercial and industrial loan balances at US banks shrank or stalled as companies cut back or as banks tightened their lending standards in reaction to the economy they found themselves in, a recession was either already in progress or would start soon. There has been no exception since the 1960s. Last time this happened was during the Financial Crisis.

Now it’s happening again – with a 1990/91 recession twist.

Commercial and industrial loans outstanding fell to $2.095 trillion on May 10, according to the Fed’s Board of Governors weekly report on Friday. That’s down 4.5% from the peak on November 16, 2016. It’s below the level of outstanding C&I loans on October 19. And it marks the 30th week in a row of no growth in C&I loans.

Perhaps we will be very fortunate and break this pattern that has held up all the way back to the 1960s.

But I wouldn’t count on it.  Here is what Zero Hedge has to say about this alarming contraction in commercial and industrial loans…

Here’s the bottom line: unless there is a sharp rebound in loan growth in the next 3-6 months – whether due to greater demand or easier supply – this most accurate of leading economic indicators guarantees that a recession is now inevitable.

We are way overdue for a recession, the hard economic numbers are screaming that one is coming, and the financial markets are absolutely primed for a major crash.

As Americans, we tend to have such short memories.  Every time a new financial bubble starts forming, a lot of people out there start behaving as if it can last indefinitely.

But of course no financial bubble is going to last forever.  They all burst eventually, and now the biggest one in U.S. history is about to end in spectacular fashion.

Trump will get a lot of the blame since he is the current occupant of the White House, but the truth is that the conditions for the next crisis have been building up for many years, and the horrors that the U.S. economy is heading for were entirely predictable.

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