Yennifer Álvarez Jaimes, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s press secretary, told NBC News that all power across the island was knocked out.
“Once we’re able to go outside, we’re going to find our island destroyed,” Emergency Management Director Abner Gómez Cortés said at a news briefing. Rosselló imposed a 6 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew, citing flood warnings and the importance of keeping streets clear for repair and rescue teams. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz told MSNBC that the devastation in the capital was unlike any she had ever seen.
“The San Juan that we knew yesterday is no longer there,” Yulín said, adding: “We’re looking at four to six months without electricity” in Puerto Rico, home to nearly 3.5 million people. Maria, the strongest storm to hit Puerto Rico since 1928, had maximum sustained winds of 155 mph when it made landfall as a Category 4 storm near the town of Yabucoa just after 6 a.m. ET, the National Hurricane Center said.
Stateside, we have folks that get all bent out of shape if the power’s down and inconvenienced for a day or so. Sure, an EMP (ElectroMagnetic Pulse) is sort of a neutron bomb (which kills people, leaves buildings and stuff intact) but for electrical circuits – the fast food restaurants could only drool over that kind of fryer (small joke, just chuckle with me here). However, the results that PR are now going to face are going to go from bad to really, really, REALLY worse real quick. I hate to say it but PR is about to become a real life lesson of what happens if we got a really bad CME event (Coronal Mass Event – ionized cloud shot out of the sun) or the Norks (or Russia, China, or Iran, to name just a few) lobbed a nuke over the center of the US up atmosphere a few miles and let it go ZZZZIIIITTTT.
Maria not only took out PR’s grid but pretty much left everything in the way of housing stock, public buildings, and other infrastructure in ruins. Even if the grid was up, there’s a lot not there to hook up to. But it isn’t – major and household lines and poles down. I’m thinking lots of transformers sparked out and need replacing and if the major substation transformers also took hits, well, those take a while to replace. Four to six months for an island that’s bankrupt and has already been trying to get bailouts? Sorry to say, but this is why government should stay out of the way, stay within its boundaries (e.g., Constitution) and let its populace figure out how to be rich – surplus capacity is available to handle such disasters. Harvey, Irma and perhaps Maria – two out of three have already hit the US mainland. Can the US handle the financial fall out? Yes. Can PR? No, not on its own in any kind of “rapid” fashion.
No water and no sewage treatment for starters. No refrigeration. Batteries last just long and then pffft! Hospitals running on generators – how to get diesel fuel when no power to is available to run the pumps? Or trucks to deliver food and other dry goods? No landlines, no cell towers. No entertainment on TVs or movies (books work, though). No lights. No nuttin’.
How does one “prep” for this? Either as an individual or as a society? Certainly not a modern society in our understanding of it. Can people live without electricity? Certainly – if you have prepared for such a “no more juice” environment. Just look at the Amish and the people who have decided to go off-grid homesteading.
3.5 million people back to the Stone Age – fire and that’s about it. Effectively, isn’t this what the Environmentalists want – returning back to pre-Industrial times? Experts (and non-experts) have talked about an EMP event for years and used the large scale blackout events here in the Northeast of 1965 and 2003 as examples.
The question at the bottom of all this is will Puerto Rico survive this “Wind EMP” event? I don’t know and I don’t that anyone does. It will be a “miniature” lab in EMP recovery, that’s for sure.
I do have the feeling that “may you live in interesting times” will be a best case scenario and that a lot of the Puerto Rican residents will follow their family and friends and move to the mainland and totally abandon the island because of this as well as the already-in-motion financial collapse of which Maria is just exacerbating?