Friday, January 17, 2014

This Doesn't Just Apply to Earthquakes

"We created a society that requires the Internet to function," said U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Lucy Jones, who is heading L.A.'s new effort. "The Internet is adding this whole new level of ... complexity to our society."  ...

Even if the [cellular telephone] towers are not damaged, a surge in phone usage after a major quake is sure to bring interruptions.

The relatively modest magnitude 5.5 Chino Hills quake in 2008 caused major problems with cellphone and land-line communications. Some cellphone companies reported up to an 800% increase in calls, far more than they had expected in a true disaster. Even phones in some police agencies near the epicenter were knocked off line.

As we have discussed on a number of occasions, the U.S. is not spending sufficient resources in dealing with genuine threats that could cripple our society. We are too busy patting down grandmothers at airports.

I assure you a super tornado or a category 4 or 5 hurricane will cause problems similar to the ones described in the Times story about earthquake risks. The U.S. has been at a record interval without a major hurricane -- the last was in 2005. I increasingly fear we are dealing with "out of sight, out of mind" along the Gulf and southern Atlantic coasts which may lead to a very nasty surprise.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting you post this on the 20th anniversary of the Northridge earthquake. Which occurred in that quaint time before widespread cell phone and internet usage.

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