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California megafloods! New research, articles, prepping challenges, etc.

I don’t think we’ve had a forum thread on this before… LMK if I’m wrong and I’ll delete this and move my links and comments to the appropriate place, but the WaPo ran an article on megaflood risk in CA today.

If you get paywalled, here is:

The research article that prompted the press coverage (which is allegedly open access) A long Mother Jones feature from a couple of years on the same subject

TL;DR — California can get enormous rainfall events that generate enormous floods. There was one in 1862 and it basically turned the Central Valley into an inland sea and drowned a whole bunch of cattle. It would have been a bigger deal if the area were settled and farmed the way it is now. It will happen again and cause all kinds of havoc, destruction, loss of life, etc. My husband called it, “California’s Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.”

The thing that makes this so hard to grok for me is that, unlike likely shaking intensity for earthquakes, tsunami run-up, ordinary FEMA flood risk, and event wildfire hazard, this scenario doesn’t seem to have been modeled at the local scale. There isn’t a GIS where I can plug in my address and see whether it will be underwater or not, or plan an evacuation route.

My husband said, “We’d have five days notice, so, have sandbags ready to deploy, move everything valuable to the second floor, and evacuate.” Having sandbags and sandbag alternatives on hand seems like a no-brainer, and a list of things to move to the second floor or take (in addition to BOBs) is easy/consistent with work I’ve already done, but “we’d have five days notice… just evacuate” seems like a bad strategy given the tendency among Bay Area weather media people to totally overhype winter storms, especially those involving atmospheric rivers. If feel like all it would take is a good El Niño year and we’d be evacuating every week. Also, I have no idea where we’d go: “Head for the hills” doesn’t seem like a great rule of thumb given the propensity of the Coast Ranges to rearrange themselves under the duress of a wet winter.

Anyone else thinking about this?

(Edited to address formatting issues!)

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Low cost long term storage foods from Latter Day Saints/Mormon food storage centers

Since 2014 I have been buying long-term storage food in #10 cans from a local Latter Day Saints Food Storage Center.  (Nearly all the food is good for 30 years when stored properly.  Only a few items have a lower shelf life:  flour and carrots, 10 year shelf life; powdered milk, 20 year shelf life.)  There are about 100 locations nationwide. You do not have to be a member of the Mormon church to purchase–everyone is graciously welcomed to purchase long term food at a greatly reduced cost.   These goods may also be purchased online with about $5-$10 per case shipping if you do not have a Food Storage Center in your area.   This link has prices effective 1/1/2023 for both local Centers and online ordering. The prices are for a CASE of 6 each #10 cans.  

Home Storage Center Prices and Locations

This is a superb opportunity to purchase long term food (generally 30 years), in #10 cans.    Today I went to purchase non-fat milk in pouches (currently only available in Centers, not online).   The cost was roughly half to a quarter of most survival food companies prices for the same quantity. 

I am not a member of the LDS church, however, I have always been welcomed by the volunteers who staff the Centers and the only thing they ask is that you tell others about the opportunity to be self-reliant with food storage.   These Centers do not make a profit, and are run by volunteers. 

If you already have experience with purchasing food from an LDS Food Storage Center; chime in!   If you have any questions, ask me and I’ll get back to you on this thread.   Bon Appetit

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News for week of 2023-01-16 (all current event convos go here).

Make a top-level comment for a new story/topic. Discussions about the topic should be in the replies to the top-level comment. That way things stay organized and every main comment as you scroll down is a different piece of news.

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Grid down – How to recognize it early?

This was posted in November to the internet but my husband and I just watched this video yesterday. One of the things I found most interesting and relevant was the mention of how the initial reaction to the scenario would probably be more of a vacation vibe until the gravity of the situation really began to sink in after 2-3 days of no electricity. How does a prepared person get ahead of the curve on something like this? Realizing that the power is not coming back up in 12 hours, rather than waiting 48 hours seems like it might give you additional time to stockpile last minute water or supplies before the herd starts to panic. But how do you recognize that it really is a grid down and not an extended power outage? Or do you not worry about getting it wrong after you hit a certain length of outage, for example 6 hours, and assume grid down so that you can start moving to bug in or out as necessary?

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What three firearms would you have for prepping?

If you could only have three firearms and cared about preparedness, what would you have? Don’t want to start a “the one true caliber” debate (let’s not open that can of worms just yet!), so this is more about platforms/types that work together well if things really get bad in the world.

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3 Billion less birds in North America since 1970!

Yes, that is billions with a B!  And since 1970!  Have you noticed less birds than when you were younger?  I sure have.  And many of the species in decline are common birds you would see in a bird feeder.  Speaking of bird feeders, do y’all feed your local birds?  Do you do so in the winter when they struggle to find food?  I do.  I have multiple hanging feeders and pour lots of birdseed on my walkway in front of the house.  Around here, Walmart sells bulk sized bags and smaller bags, to fit any budget.  I make sure the mix includes sunflower seeds for birds like cardinals.

We are in the midst of a winter storm and tonight will be the third night in a row with freezing rain.  I have no doubt birds struggle to find food with so much ice covering everything.  During such times I put out extra food.  Just took this video looking out from the office.  This just shows one section of birds.  There is feed along the walkway heading to the driveway.

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Livestock for prepping

There seems to be a common belief that keeping certain classes of livestock will insure a source of food (or transportation) when SHTF.  I’m an old lady, I’ve kept pretty much every class of livestock in my goal to be “self sufficient”, and I have a different perspective.  Let’s look at bugging out with livestock, supply chain disruptions for feed and supplies, predation, types of livestock, and sort out whether maintaining livestock REALLY makes us independent, or does it become an anchor around our neck when we need extreme mobility and lack of distraction.

1.  Chickens:  EVERYBODY loves chickens and thinks they’re an ace in the hole when SHTF.  First of all, let’s look at the avian flu epidemic that is affecting private flocks.  30+ chickens and ducks were just destroyed in our county.  There are undoubtedly more that haven’t been reported. They were probably free range.  It is unlikely that most chicken owners can grow their own healthy food for modern layers and meat birds (there’s an element of decades of breeding for high performance or exhibition that makes modern chickens different from those of the WWI era). So owners are highly dependent on supply chains.  Feed is hard to stockpile because it can easily go bad or become rat infested. Bedding is also subject to supply chain disruptions and inflation.  Bagged wood shavings can also be affected by the lumber market.  Around here, shavings were hard to get during the pandemic because the mills were all shutting down. Predation can bring death and destruction to a flock overnight. Oh, and the deep orange of homegrown eggs, to which is ascribed health benefits, is the result of feed compounders adding marigold extract – a dye – to the feed. It isn’t green grass and worms and sunshine.

2. Livestock and Evacuation: The overarching concern for ALL livestock owners is evacuation.  When our county was evacuated due to wildfires in 2020, there was a Facebook network called Cowgirl 911 which coordinated livestock owners with those willing to help transport.  That was the most appalling experience of a lifetime, seeing people pleading desperately for help transporting their chickens, pigs, goats, horses (not trained to load onto trailers).  And transporting to where?  As a horse owner caught up in the evacuation, the amount of time and space it took to load up those horses and their “survival gear” was staggering.

If you are a livestock person already, you’re probably aware of the devastating state of affairs of abandoned livestock after a big disaster. We’ll include cats and dogs here as well.

3. Other small livestock:  Somebody mentioned raising “cuy” in a recent post here.  Did anybody look that up?  Cuy = cavie = Guinea pig=rodent.  “They eat grass.”  Grass is not the same foodstuff from one hour of the day to the next, not to mention seasons.  There is a saying: “Just because you have grass doesn’t mean you have feed.”  I have been shepherding a horse through a major metabolic meltdown for eight months that occurred because of the grass she ate late last spring. 

Rabbits are kept caged.  They are susceptible to many ailments and are subject to the same issues with supply chains, evacuation concerns, etc.

Pigeons:  Why isn’t anybody raising pigeons anymore?  They were survival food for millenia.  If you look at a nicely grown out squab (young pigeon) expertly cleaned, you can only imagine how delicious it would be roasted.  Getting into pigeons is very expensive and subject to all aforementioned difficulties, but if I could convince my husband, I’d be trying pigeons. Or, if wild pigeons are in your area you can catch them to start your loft.

4. And lastly, may I bring up the subject of horses, which have been described here as “the ultimate bug-out animal”.  One prepping blogger went so far as to “instruct” the reader to go out and catch a mustang, train it according to Buck Brannaman (the “horse whisperer), and you’ll have transportation in case you need to bug out and all the roads are wrecked.  This is such a work of fiction that I can’t even wrap my brain around it.  The LAST thing you need to be “saddled” with (pun intended) is horses in a disaster.  They contribute nothing to survival unless you’re actually using them for farming.  They’re timid, they require more knowledge than raising children (neither comes with operating manuals) and while they’re not being used for bugging out, they require ENORMOUS assets, work and money to keep in a state of health. And what abandoned horses suffer in a natural disaster is the stuff of nightmares.  Even worse what they suffer in the hands of the uninformed.

If you are a city dweller who longs for the country life, that’s a realistic desire, but keeping livestock does not, in my book, equate to prepping or survival.  It creates an additional concern, a living “asset” if you will, which adds to the scope of necessary prepping, it does not subtract from it.

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Answered here: 4 important questions about mylar bags and food storage

Dry goods are best stored in Mylar bags since they are readily destroyed by air. These bags are airtight and often come in combination with oxygen absorbers, ensuring a longer shelf life for dry food items. They are also effective for keeping bugs and other pests away, as they provide a barrier that insects and animals can’t penetrate. Often, customers have many doubts while purchasing gusseted food bags. Here we have tried to answer four important questions asked by customers:

What Thickness do Experts Recommend for Using Mylar Bags?

The standard thickness recommended by experts is 5 mils. This thickness ensures that the bag is durable and can protect your food from any environmental pollutants like moisture and oxygen. However, the thickness may vary depending on what type of food you are preserving and how long you plan to store it. For example, if you are storing food for longer periods of time, a thicker mylar bag would be more beneficial.

How Do I Seal Food Storage Bags?

The best way to keep the contents of mylar bags safe is to use heat sealers for mylar bags. You can use either a standard hair straightening iron or a specialized heat sealer to effectively and securely close the top of your food storage bag. Heat sealing is a simple and efficient method for ensuring that your food stays secure and safe in the Mylar bag. To start, carefully insert the open end of the bag into the heat sealer and press down firmly to form a tight seal.

Recommended Moisture Level for Food Storage

Moisture-rich foods shouldn’t be stored in Mylar bags. It is important to monitor the moisture level of food stored in Mylar bags. Generally, the moisture level should be below 10%, but it is best to aim for a lower level of 5-6%. Storing food in Mylar bags with a moisture level that is too high can lead to mold growth, insect infestations, and even food poisoning.

How to Safely Store Mylar Bags?

Mylar bags with food can be stored safely with proper care and attention to the environmental conditions of the storage area. Keep them in a plastic or metal container in a dark area away from moisture and sunlight.

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Long term storage ideas for chocolate/cocoa/Tang or Vitamin C?

After a lot of research online over the years, the closest I can come to 10-15 year storage of chocolate chips and/or cocoa is to vacuum seal in a Mason jar with an oxygen absorber and keep in cool, dark place.

Also looking for suggestions regarding a source of Vitamin C for long term storage.   Thanks!

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Which are the best all-around boots: combat, work, or hiking boots?

Not much of an outdoors person and I don’t know much about boots for a SHTF kind of thing. Would love to hear specific suggestions if you have them, but to get started I just wanted advice on what category to search through?

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Transparent authority

A forum like TP is unique in providing a community to share information and opinion. It is civil, welcoming and non-political. That’s why I read so much here.

One concern I have at TP, and elsewhere, is the appeal to authority.

Most of us post our experience and opinions. Sometimes we suggest our opinions or advice is a little more. That it’s highly informed because we are especially informed and experienced. Most of the time, that is benign. If someone at TP says they have a better understanding of a problem because they work in IT, I listen carefully, because I have worked in IT a long time and can recognize a phony from the real deal. This is really an appeal to our experience and not authority. An appeal to authority almost always is an appeal to a position of authority.

For example, if we are discussing how a regional power outage has affected a large area and how long it’s going to take to restore power, most of us are offering experience, opinion and links to news articles. But if I say ‘I am the Director of Disaster Recovery for a major State and I know what I am talking about’, another standard applies. I am appealing to authority, my own authority. If I am unwilling to identify myself by legal name and contact information and only offer an avatar named ‘CreepyBunny’, most of us will discount anything I say – forever.

Or if you write that expert opinion about XYZ is clear and settled, but your links are to other articles saying the same thing, without publicly available facts and named authorities, you are misleading your audience. It is sleight of hand to trick them into believing your view is ‘authoritative’. Manipulation.

When a journalist writes about a topic and quotes ‘anonymous sources’, it may be exciting and dramatic, it might support your opinion too, but it’s still between the peanuts and the beer.

Why? Because authority is always transparent. If your comments, advice or orders are not offered with your full name and verifiable contact information, then you are just like the rest of us, or maybe another ‘CreepyBunny’.

Wikipedia can be like this. It can be wonderful to get up to speed on a topic like Calculus, the Ford F150 and Italian cooking. There can be many documented authorities quoted in the articles too. But many of the editors that write these articles are anonymous. If I read about a fast developing story or a controversial topic it takes a lot of time to read the links and see if any of the editors are transparent.

So what’s the big deal?

Read this:

Wikipedia and Saudi Arabia

Borncity transparency

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Outer coats for the seasons, watcha wearing?

Sooo in the cold weather here in the UK I wear a modified water resistant, fleece lined Regatta professional soft shell with the velcro (hook and loop) removed and replace with elastic or press studs. And extra inside pockets added, plus some 1 inch webbing for guiding cables or clipping radios, flashlights, knives etc to.

In the warmer weather I use either or both Craghopper Nosilife adventure 2 Jacket, And Or a Nosilife adventure 2 multi pocket gilette, again much modified for hanging assorted items of kit off.

All rather drab and unassuming to meet the Grey Man concept I support, So what do you folks like to wear as outerwear?

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Clothing Arcola Tactical Soft Shell

Anticipatory grief

I’m wondering if people here may feel a sense of “anticipatory grief” relating to others who aren’t into prepping or who aren’t into avoiding infection with pathogens? As I understand it and as I’m putting it in simple words, anticipatory grief is grieving for someone who hasn’t literally died yet even though they’re on that trajectory. It’s complicated grief because there aren’t cultural supports for the grieving process and because there are plenty of unknowns. 

As background, some of my friends and acquaintances act like it’s 2019 or earlier and are traveling, going to large in-person gatherings, and doing other activities that seem risky even as they aren’t taking rudimentary preparedness actions or taking care of their general health. I try to lead by example in my circles, but I’m not invested in trying to change their behavior otherwise (staying in my lane). 

I’ve caught myself thinking, “Say good-bye inside. He won’t be around in 5 years. “Say good-bye inside. She won’t be around in 10 years.” Of course, the so-called Doomsday Clock is at what, 90 seconds to midnight? 

Anyway, I’m just curious. Best regards to all.

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New gun owners with questions?

Seeing as how the demand for firearms is at an all time high, and the number of new gun owners is exponentially increasing, I figured it would be good to open a thread for anyone new or inexperienced with firearms to throw out any questions they might have. So fire away (see what I did there?) I’m here to answer any questions and I’m sure Thomas can drop in as well

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Iodinated Providone for water treatment

Is 10% Iodinated Providone the same as “normal” Iodine for water sterilisation?

i.e. can I dilute the 10% solution to 2% and use a few drops per quart/litre?

I use it at work, so it would be handy to know.

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First aid expiration dates?

Hello everyone! I just cleaned out and reorganized my first aid/over the counter medications. I did a search in the Forum, and don’t think this question has been covered, but please let me know if it has already been talked about.

I feel comfortable with the shelf life (expired) over the counter medications in pill form that I have, but I am unsure if I need to worry about the dates on the lotions and creams and similar stuff. I was going to do some research, but I am thinking someone here might already know or have a reliable source for this topic. FYI, I’m talking mainly about the stuff like antifungals, antibiotic ointments, allergy/antiinflammatory creams, other lotions/creams/gels that are on The Prepared’s Home Medical Supplies List. (I replace alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and Pedialyte, but those are about the only things I have been rotating in my whole medical cupboard and I’m wondering if I need to replace anything else.). Thanks in advance for any advice on this topic.

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Is a portable solar-powered generator practical for powering my home?

I don’t have solar panels on my house and I don’t have the money to invest in a rooftop array. I want something to power my home…the refrigerator as much as needed, lights at night, our on-demand water heater. Is a portable system with panels I can set up in my backyard practical for this purpose? I like the idea that we can take it with us if we need to. I would love your thoughts and thanks in advance.

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Is using natural gas a realistic option in most grid-down scenarios?

Given the number of electrical grid-down scenarios over the past year or so, I’ve been thinking about how to heat my home should that happen in the dead of winter.

My question is this:  Does natural gas ever get disrupted, specifically in locations like the Rocky Mountain West?  Power outages exceeding more than a few hours in my area are rare, perhaps once a year at most.  I don’t recall ever–in my lifetime–having a natural gas outage, period.  Though, obviously, anything is possible given the right bad circumstances.

It occurred to me that in a simple extended power outage (ranging from a few hours to a few days) due to, say, downed power lines in a snowstorm, I could simply plug the fan for my gas fireplace (or, possibly, the fan for the main house heater, which uses forced air) into a Jackery or DIY power station and keep heat circulating through the house.  While I haven’t yet taken a look at the setup in the basement furnace room, my initial thought is that that electric fan on my fireplace would require significantly less electricity and would be sufficient to keep our small two-bedroom ranch style home “warm enough” in an emergency situation.

Obviously, as well all things prepping, I wouldn’t want to put all my eggs in the same prepping basket.  So being prepared to function without natural gas ultimately needs to be part of my plan.  But, it seems, that many if not most grid-down situations would be no electric BUT natural gas still available, allowing me to battery power the fans to circulate the heat.  And, obviously, for an extended outage, natural gas–if available–is in much greater supply than the amount of propane I can realistically (and safely) store onsite.

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Sump Pump Kit: Keeping your basement dry (and your neighbour’s too)

(image credit: Magnolia Field Flooding by Doc Searls. Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY 2.0)

It’s 2 am. Your neighbour bangs on the door. Their house is flooding, and their sump pump just broke. The hardware store is closed. Can you help?


If you live somewhere with a basement and water, you may use a pump to keep your basement dry. This kit contains everything needed to get water out of your house.

This kit may seem expensive, because you are buying a pump. But it’s cheaper than an emergency call to a plumber. And it’s cheaper than an insurance claim and a flooded basement.

A sump pump is a perfect example of something worth preparing in advance. When you need it, you *really* need it. And chances are – everyone else may too. Better to have a kit ready than to be part of the crowd, rushing to the out-of-stock hardware store during a flood.

How To Use It

Usually you want to send the water one of two places: into the storm drain system (in a city) or out onto the lawn or road. The farther away from the house, the better – at least 20 feet.

Note it is illegal in many areas to permanently connect your sump pump to the _sewer_ system (it should connect to the _storm drain_ system), including a floor drain. But in an emergency, if choosing between a floor drain and a flooded house – put the water wherever it needs to go. You can point the hose at the floor drain and remove water, if the hose is not long enough to reach outside of the house.

How To Store It

You have several ways to store this:

One Bucket, stuff sticking out. If you use a standard hose kit, it is unlikely everything will fit into one bucket. If you’re not concerned about being neat and tidy, this is the cheapest, easiest way to do it. You could also measure the hose length to your floor drain and cut the hose to save space. Two Buckets, one for hose, one for pump. If you coil it nicely, 20 feet of 1-1/2″ hose will juuust fit inside a 5 gallon bucket. Put the pump and other items into a second bucket. This lets you put lids on top, to keep it all together. You must carry two buckets around. One Bucket, smaller hose. If you buy an adapter, you can use a marine hose (strong garden hose) instead of a regular hose. This lets you fit everything in one bucket. The marine hose may be longer, but have a smaller diameter, so it will move water more slowly.

Can I Really Use A Garden Hose?

You should *not* use a garden hose for a permanent setup. But in an emergency a hose will move water. It’s an option.

I spent twenty hours of research and one hour of testing creating this kit. I found a dozen people online and one person in my real-world prepping circle who have used (real life) or claimed to have used (online) a pump with an adapter and garden hose. I called three pump manufacturers and two plumbers to ask about pumps, PSI, and setup. All of them recommended *NOT* using a garden hose as your permanent pump setup.

A garden hose or marine hose has a smaller diameter, so it will move the water more slowly.
Your first bet should be the main discharge hose that is sized for your pump.
But if you want to buy a $15 adapter, you can.


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(image credit: Magnolia Field Flooding by Doc Searls. Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY 2.0)

News for week of 2023-01-09 (all current event convos go here)

Make a top-level comment for a new story/topic. Discussions about the topic should be in the replies to the top-level comment. That way things stay organized and every main comment as you scroll down is a different piece of news.

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The dead of winter is a great time for pruning.

There is so much to do on a homestead, even in the winter when nothing is growing.  Lately I’ve been cleaning up the garden, getting rid of all the dead plants.  That material all goes in the compost pile.  I’ve also been pounding in a dozen 8 foot T-posts, to hold my 6 foot trellis netting for a new location of pole beans.

For many plants, the best time to prune is in the winter when they are dormant.  I finished cutting back most of my roses and now I am working on my muscadine grapes.  They get real leggy because each shoot can put out a stem that can be 10 feet long… or longer.  They bear fruit on new growth, so it is extremely important to cut them way back each winter.  When done with the muscadines, I have around 150 fruit trees to prune next.

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Favorite source for storm warnings?

There have been some extreme weather effects in the US lately and San Francisco is about to have an another one. The National Weather Service’s Bay Area office issued “a frank and dire warning to citizens”:

“To put it simply, this will likely be one of the most impactful systems on a widespread scale that this meteorologist has seen in a long while,” the warning read. “The impacts will include widespread flooding, roads washing out, hillside collapsing, trees down (potentially full groves), widespread power outages, immediate disruption to commerce, and the worst of all, likely loss of human life. This is truly a brutal system that we are looking at and needs to be taken seriously.”

I find it helpful to get a “heads-up” about storms like this and sometimes they will appear in my regular daily news (The New York Times), but I’d like a more specialized source to check regularly.  My built-in iPhone weather app is pretty good at providing forecasts when things are normal but it didn’t warn me about the artic blast we received in December.

What’s your favorite source to check for storm forecasts?

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