Solar Storms (2012)

Hope for best, prepare for worst

Q. I've been reading about how vulnerable our electrical grid is to issues like cyberattack, solar flares and an electromagnetic pulse from a high-altitude nuke (NEMP). How likely are these problems? How should we approach this problem, and how could it affect my workplace?

A. Nobody can say precisely what the effects of these events would be -- or what their likelihood is. One likely result would be catastrophic damage to our electrical grid, which could be short term or quite prolonged. Electricity is critical to every aspect of our economy and our lives. To do without it would jeopardize our public safety and our national security.

Most of us have no information that our...