Thursday, April 28, 2011

BLACK OUT: The Top 11 Threats to the Power Grid

Today's news reported dozens of tornadoes that killed 201 in 6 Southern states. [more...] St. Louis last week, now Arkansas - devastated by monster tornadoes tearing up the landscape, ripping homes to shreds, even taking lives. But how can we better prepare for these devastating storms?  Brian Brawdy, survival expert and editor of knows how to get you prepared for when they strike. BLACK OUT: The Top 11 Threats to the Power Grid is a new report on that everyone should read.

It hits the ground like a runaway freight train, eating up and spitting out everything in its path for two and a half miles. At 300 yards wide with 160 mph winds, nothing can stop it.

Each year, the U.S. experiences an average of 1,000 tornadoes, with the most powerful storms destroying whole towns and knotting up high-voltage transmission towers like twist-ties. While some power lines have more backups in heavily populated areas, many rural parts of the country do not. When a tornado crosses paths with a 30-year-old high-tension line in parts of the Midwest or west Texas, whole regions can go dark for days.

Most storm blackouts, however, come from far less spectacular weather. Usually, it's just a little summer thunderstorm. People think that lightning probably hit a tree or a power line a few blocks away and that the lights will be on in a few minutes. But what's happening now with sky-high 21st century energy demand is that major disruptions to the power grid happen more frequently because the grid is stretched so thinly. In the last 30 years, intensive urban sprawl has stretched the grid out so tautly that a single weather event can have catastrophic consequences for entire regions of the country.

Severe weather is a fact of life. In the face of increasing demand with limited resources, consumers need to be prepared to be on their own for days at a time - perhaps even longer. [more...]

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