Letter Re: Observations on the Alberta Province Floods

Mr Rawles, You may already be aware of the devastating floods Alberta has experienced in the past 10 days, with some areas receiving up to an amazing 8-11 inches of rain and over 100,000 people evacuated.  The flood has washed out dozens of highways and bridges, stranded campers in the Rocky Mountains, and saw lions from the zoo moved to city jail cells.  The hippos almost escaped into the river.  In even more worrying news, police have confiscated firearms from flooded residences ‘for safekeeping’ much to the outrage of the citizens.  [JWR Adds: It is noteworthy that with Canada’s system of gun …




Letter Re: Mass Versus Bullets (and Hail Stones and Gamma Radiation)

Hello James, I read your blog every day and enjoy finding information that is useful. Recently a posting discussed the use of the 5.56 mm NATO bullet and its poor performance in penetrating automobiles.   I took notice of this information about the penetrating power or lack of penetrating power of the 5.56 in relation to single and double barriers. We moved onto our five acres of land nine years ago. One of the first building projects was to have a contractor installed tornado shelter set in the ground. Then over the next two years I added a 16’x20’x50” high …




Survival Tips From the May 20, 2013 Oklahoma Tornado

Let me first say thank you to all who have contributed to this blog for your columns and all your wisdom.  Without this site, my experience during the recent tornado would have been much different! For some background info, I have only been prepping for about a year. I have been an Emergency Medicine physician for over 10 years.  I treated patients of the May 3, 1999 Moore, Oklahoma tornado during my training years and I was involved in door to door search and rescue for the recent May 20, 2013 tornado. While my house was not hit, it did …




Surviving the Aftermath, Hurricane Katrina Style, by Frank G.

On the morning of August 29th, 2005 we came face to face with TEOTWAWKI in the form of Hurricane Katrina.  An estimated 92% of our community in Pascagoula, Mississippi was inundated with a storm surge of 20-30 feet and 30-55 feet sea waves.  The surge waters traveled well inland, between 6-12 miles and combined with freshwater flooding from our numerous creeks, rivers, and the runoff from the Mobile, Alabama reservoir that opened its flood gates to relieve stress on the dam.  This basically cut Jackson County in half.  Fortunately the worst of the storm hit in the morning just as …




Tornado Survival Tips, by Mat Stein

NOTE: This article is adapted from my book When Disaster Strikes: A Comprehensive Guide for Emergency Planning and Crisis Survival. Who could not be shocked and saddened by the images of massive devastation left in the wake of recent tornadoes that struck in Oklahoma and Texas? Though nothing can guarantee absolute safety in the path of a tornado, outside of a shelter with reinforced concrete and steel walls, understanding something about the nature of tornadoes, safety tips for surviving a tornado strike, and which common folklore is to be trusted or ignored, will improve your chances for making the right …




Lessons Learned From Hurricane Sandy, by The Angry Prepper

Hurricane Sandy tore through the northern eastern seaboard.  The hurricane combined with two other weather systems to create a Super storm (Some say).  The Hurricane or Super Storm created a destructive path that hasn’t been seen this far up north, ever.  Homes were damaged, properties were destroyed, and lives were lost.  This Hurricane had a lot to teach us.  A lot of us (Preppers) were prepared for this storm and tested our emergency plan for the first time, in real time.  We got to learn a lot about our emergency plan and some of us will patch the holes in …




Letter Re: Useful Space Weather Updates

James, Many folks have an interest of viewing solar information and typically subscribe to raw data feeds; however probably do not understand a lot of the science behind the numbers. There is a gentleman who produces daily morning youtube forecasts typically from 3 to 4 minutes long which covers the gamut of space weather and it’s impact on terrestrial weather. These broadcasts are extremely informative and he does an excellent job breaking down all of the information. His Youtube channel is called Suspicious0bservers. I have become a regular daily viewer of his short yet extremely informative broadcasts. Warm Regards, – …




Two Letters Re: Surviving Snowmageddon

Dear JWR: You don’t always need a snow plow to to free up the streets in a snow-bound neighborhood. I found a video that shows a U.S. military surplus M35 2-1/2 Ton (“Deuce and a Half”) truck being used to pack down snow. – Solar Guy   Mr. Rawles, We in dry Central Texas are having the opposite problem from your “Snowmageddon” contributors: Dry wind-blizzards. On Monday, February 25th we had dry, sunny weather combined with high winds all day and night. I stepped outside after lunch to check the mail. Uhh-Ohh. The brush pile fire we had burned almost …




Letter Re: Surviving Snowmageddon

James, Regarding the recent piece Surviving Snowmageddon: The precursor to Seattle’s 2012 storm was the December 2008 Snowpocalypse. While the power outages weren’t as severe as 2012, the well-publicized driving conditions were nightmarish. [JWR Adds: Ditto for driving Seattle’s steep streets in 2010.] The storm hit during a workday and dropped about two feet of snow across the Puget Sound region. Temps were in the teens, visibility was whiteout, and the snow remained on the ground at least 10 days – quite rare for these parts. People were totally unprepared, especially for the drive home. Freeway traffic was literally at a stand …




Surviving Snowmageddon, by Lugknut32

In January, 2012 Washington State went through what the locals called Snowmageddon. My family and I had just returned from being stationed in Germany for the preceding nine years. Some of our belongings were still packed up out in the garage. Mostly my “camping” things. Having just started at the new assignment, I had not yet taken the time to unpack everything. I had bought some heavy duty shelves for the garage (in anticipation of unpacking my gear). While in Germany, I was stationed in Bavaria (Schweinfurt and Graffenwoehr specifically). I had been raised in the Midwest, so I was …




Emergency Bags for Your Vehicle, by Z.T.

Most preppers probably have a pretty good handle on how to assemble a bug-out-bag (BOB). And, it’s probably so large and ungainly, that it gets stuck in the closet, just like mine. Let’s be honest, are you going to have it when you need it? I think we have covered the likelihood of being at home when “it” happens in plenty of detail in the past. We have seen that the chances of you being at home on your couch with your BOB beside you are slim. What about all the other situations? In other words, where to you spend …




Letter Re: Observations on Winter Storm Nemo

Mr. Rawles, In the past few days, I have noticed many articles and threads from preppers regarding the northeast and our recent  snowfall. The general feeling is that we (from New England/New York) did not learn anything from Hurricane Sandy, and were again caught unprepared. Multiple news clips and sound bites  seem to support this. What the rest of the country seems not to realize, is that empty grocery stores, power outages, and blocked roads are a way of life here in New England, and have been for as far back as we can recall.  The prepper community is always speculating …




Michael Z. Williamson: Telecom Cable Rooms and Salt Water–A Bad Combination

This article bears special mention: Into the vault: the operation to rescue Manhattan’s drowned internet Hurricane. Steve [an acquaintance who is a telephone lineman] wrote to note: “Having a cable vault under a central office flood is a major disaster in the telecom industry. One splice getting wet is a big job. Losing the entire office brings up comments like I didn’t want any days off this year. Having fixed splices like this that have gotten wet I have a good idea what is involved to fix this. It’s a lot of slow meticulous work. If the damage is only …




Two Letters Re: Hurricane Sandy After Action Reports

Sir: I am an 18 year old guy in a family of 8 in a suburban home 10 miles from the nearest city in central New Jersey.   We knew it was coming a week in advance. So did just about everyone in the tri-state area. There was no hiding the fact. Even with a looming election, Hurricane Sandy got “saturation media coverage”. Terms like “superstorm” , “catastrophic”, and “unprecedented” were being used in almost every Hurricane Sandy story. This storm was supposed to bring catastrophic damage to New Jersey and New York, with moderate rain, high winds, and an …




Three Letters Re: Hurricane Sandy After Action Reports

James Wesley, By now you probably know that the mountains of West Virginia got snow generated by Superstorm Sandy so our local disaster looks somewhat different than other areas.  In our case we got better than 3 feet of very heavy wet snow dumped on us in short order.  Trees came down over a couple of day period in numbers great enough to make walking outside hazardous. One of the local farm families I know had to cut their way to the barn to care for the live stock and then cut their way back home.  Over a week later …