War Signs

5 Signs Nuclear War is Imminent

5 Signs Nuclear War is Imminent

In this blog, we will cover the 5 signs to watch for that would indicate a nuclear war is imminent.  With the recent nuclear saber-rattling by Russia, the potential for a nuclear incident is at levels we haven’t seen in generations.  There are ways to gain precious moments if you know what to look for in advance of an impact giving you enough time to survive the apocalyptic fall out that ensues.  Let’s talk about it.


How It Will Go DownIn the first minute after a nuclear missile launch, infrared satellites would detect the hot plume from the fired missile.  Within 4 minutes after a launch is detected, NORAD teams must report their confidence assessment that an attack is underway.  By 9 minutes, the president is notified.  Within 10-15 minutes, ground radars detect missiles in mid-flight unless that missile is hypersonic.  Within 20 minutes after that first detection, the War Room formats and transmits launch orders.  As early as 22 minutes after that first launch detection, ICBMs instantly fire out of silos over a pre-programmed 5-minute fly-out salvo.  As early as 27 minutes after launch, enemy missiles begin to detonate over their intended targets.  If it is a hypersonic missile fired, depending upon its location when fired, the detonation over the target could be under 15 minutes after launch.  Ground radars wouldn’t even detect the missile traveling at a speed close to 11,000 miles per hour in the upper atmosphere. Ground operators will have barely had time to interpret the infrared satellite data. 


People and WarThough a nuclear exchange could happen at any time, it will likely be preceded by several events.  Smaller conflicts and clashes will occur. Perhaps NATO and Russian forces will clash on the battlefield in Ukraine, Russia, Lithuania, or Finland. There may be low-yield tactical nuclear artillery used on the battlefield. There would probably be a complete breakdown of diplomatic discussions.  Ambassadors will be expelled from countries, and embassies will be closed.  High-level threats and saber rattling will occur.  Each of these stages could lower the DEFCON level.  DEFCON, short for Defense Readiness Condition or simply Defense Condition, is the U.S. military’s ranking system for defense readiness for a potential nuclear attack.

Because of the war in Ukraine, the current DEFCON level is at 3, which is an increase in nuclear readiness to higher than above normal.  DEFCON 2 is near nuclear war, and Defcon 1 is a cocked pistol stage.  That means nuclear war is imminent, missiles are fueled in silos, and submarines are moved into position for a stealthy assault.

DEFCON is a well-thought-out system, but there’s no guarantee it will work perfectly.  A launch would jump it from 3 to 1.  Even though the system may lag behind reality on the ground or in the air, if it drops to 2, things are really bad.  Level 2 has only been reached twice in the scale’s over 60-year history- during the Cuban Missile Crisis and at the start of the Gulf War.


Rich ManWhen the DEFCON level drops, you’ll see an immediate exodus of the rich.  They’ll be halting any interviews, canceling any appearances, boarding their private jets or yachts, or attempting to charter a jet or yacht to get out of town.  Without missiles even in the air, you will see them disappear away to their private islands, safer countries like New Zealand, or the jungle estates of Costa Rica. Many tech billionaires and elites have purchased properties in New Zealand, which isn’t directly targeted by any known nuclear arsenals.  It has become the bugout location of choice, but the super-rich still have to get there.  They will use the DEFCON dropping to 2 as their reason to go.  They’ll flee to their bunkers and ranches in remote locations inaccessible to the common folk.  The sky will be full of helicopters whisking the uber-rich or wealthy to safer places.

You will also witness an exodus of politicians.  Suddenly, the press will announce they don’t know where the president is.  As the press investigates, they will find more and more politicians out of office, not making their scheduled appearances, and unavailable.  The skies will buzz with small plane, jet, and helicopter activity.  If you recall after 911 how quiet the skies were when all air traffic was grounded, this will be the opposite of that. If you are away from home, DEFCON 2 is also your sign to drop what you are doing and get home to safer, familiar environments where you can implement your nuclear plans or simply say your goodbyes, if it should come to that.


Massive CyberattacksImagine your world with no cell phone reception, internet, or broadcasts of any kind.  Unlike in the 1950s, we live in a high-tech world.  The conditions and equipment are different, and so are the weapons of war.  To gain the upper hand before a possible launch, countries would likely launch a massive cyberattack and satellite attack on adversarial countries.  It is now known that Russian-based hackers disrupted at least one satellite internet provider at the same time they were launching an invasion of Ukraine.  We also know these viruses are sometimes dormant and simply waiting to be activated. A surprise high-altitude detonation from a secret nuclear warhead on a satellite in space would result in an EMP–electromagnetic pulse.  That would wipe out electronics and communications for thousands of miles, frying modern circuit boards and overloading transformers.  If that extreme happens, you can assume missiles are in the air somewhere.

Barring that extreme, massive systemic failure of systems from cyberattacks and hackers waging war is a sure sign of escalation.  This won’t just be cell service but will likely be multiple services knocked offline, from street lights to electrical grids, airport radars, and wireless internet.  Seeing numerous systems knocked offline simultaneously could be a sign that an attack is imminent.


Assets AwayIf you live anywhere near an Air Force Base, and suddenly it seems like every single plane, helicopter, jet, or bomber is in the air and flying overhead, a launch has likely occurred.  Most of the nuclear arsenal is in the hands of the air force.  Even if those jets and bombers screaming overhead are not nuclear-armed, the government doesn’t want them sitting ducks at the base.  They need to be ready for the counter-offensive.  High-ranking officials will be in transit to safe locations.

While there will be an increased tempo at DEFCON 2, if a nuclear exchange is imminent, every asset that can be in the air will be in the air.  Moments before detonation, many of the helicopters may land in odd locations before any EMP or blast.  Then, if they can, they will take to the air again in an attempt to reach their locations or revised locations.


Missile LaunchNot to point out the obvious, but the most assured sign your country is engaged in a nuclear war will be the fact that you can see the missiles being launched.  If your country initiated the attack, you have under 20 minutes to get to shelter.  If your country is counter-attacking, you have less than 5 minutes.  Several brightly lit contrails streaking into the sky can be viewed under proper conditions at a range of up to 200 miles away. If it’s just one white streak of a contrail against the sky, you should ensure you aren’t looking towards Edwards AFB, Cape Canaveral, or some other well-known space launch platform.  If you see the contrail over the ocean, it’s a sub-based launch.  If it’s not nuclear, it’s just as bad as it could spark a nuclear exchange.  Even after the contrail streak has ended, a high-altitude rocket or missile will resemble a brightly moving star until its engines snuff out in space.  

If you see more than one missile contrail, immediately implement your nuclear plan.

More than likely, you will see more than one of these signs.  As far as a nuclear plan goes, that’s up to you.  There’s no guarantee of survival.  We will link to another blog we did on surviving the nuclear fallout, a blog on preparing for global war in this day and age, and a blog on 7 Practical Ways to Prepare for WWIII Right Now.  As we said, there’s no guarantee of a survival with an event this large, but proper prepping can put the odds ever so slightly back in your favor.

As always, stay safe out there.

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