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Gazette Premium Content One scenario for an American blackout

National Geographic Updated: November 9, 2013 at 5:52 pm
National Geographic Updated: November 9, 2013 at 5:52 pm • Published: November 10, 2013

In a special entitled “American Blackout,” National Geographic takes a look at what would happen in the United States if power went down for 10 days. The scenario involves a nationwide collapse that starts on the East Coast, then rolls into Texas, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco as it...

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In a special entitled “American Blackout,” National Geographic takes a look at what would happen in the United States if power went down for 10 days. The scenario involves a nationwide collapse that starts on the East Coast, then rolls into Texas, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco as it cascades throughout the country.

Day 1: Nationwide blackout occurs. As it spreads, concern grows that it may affect the entire county. Electronic communication becomes more difficult. 1,947 people die.


Day 2: Gas pumps, traffic lights, computers and other transportation related machines that require power are knocked out. Airplanes are grounded. 10,758 dead.

Day 3: Food and potable water become scarce. Businesses must protect against looters. 26,728 dead.

Day 4: Emergency personnel and resources stretched to the breaking point. 49,860 dead.

Day 5: Medical care feels the pressure, dealing with existing health problems and a raft of new ones caused by the blackout. For instance, people develop illnesses from failed sanitation systems. 80,151 dead.

Day 6: Rumors run wild as people disconnected from communications panic, seeking any kind of information. 117,000 people dead.

Day 7: Crime spikes as people do what they must to survive. 162,000 dead.

Day 8: People who prepared for disaster, called Preppers, survive better than those not prepared. 213,900 dead.

Day 9: Military installations are in good shape because of backup power for critical infrastructure. 272,920 dead.

Day 10: Electricity fully restored. Recovery that could take years begins. Total dead: 339,013

Source: National Geographic

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