Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Where to Live I - Rainfall


After watching a youtube vid that concluded that the best place in the whole world for all of us to live is in the Florida Panhandle,* I got to thinking that what is needed is not for someone to conclude where the best possible place to be in some kind of SHTF scenario,** but rather a discussion of the factors that should play into such a choice. This will be done via an occasional series of USA maps*** that illustrate natural, political, and demographic information.

This is more useful IMO because everyone is going to consider different scenarios more likely than others, which necessitates that certain factors like rainfall or population density be treated as more important than others. The Redoubters, as I mentioned, consider military defensibility to be crucial. I don't, except to the extent that oceans and deserts are fortifications.  So we are necessarily going to draw different conclusions from the same data because we will weigh that data differently. That's fine. Not all of us can fit in Marianna, Florida, anyway.

So first up is a biggie in just about any scenario: rainfall.  Even though the US as a whole is not considered a place where fresh water is scarce, the current drought in California reminds us how much and in what ways we rely on water for food production.

Now, the thing I like best about this map is that it displays colors appropriate to my personal conclusions: green is go, red is stop.  Green denotes areas where, coincidentally, perhaps, the rainfall of 30-60" per year fits in well with a garden's demand for 1-2" per week, depending upon temperature and soil type.  Of course, water need not be all summer rainfall, as the prepper is expected to be saving rainfall all year long, even if it's in a pond.  But it becomes very difficult to provide the garden with 60 inches of water over 30 weeks if your area only gets one inch a month, and most of that as snow. It doesn't mean you can't live there: people still do.  It just means you're going to have to work harder and be more creative in providing water for gardens and livestock.****

Best places: Obviously, the eastern half of the US scores well, as does northern and central California (oops) and central Colorado. Good Redoubt areas include Idaho and small parts of Montana and Wyoming.  If you really, really love rain, western Oregon and Washington rule, as does the Mississippi Delta.

Marginal places: the High Plains to the eastern Rockies.  These areas are some of America's most productive farmland, but they are so only because of a) massive amounts of petroleum-based fertilizers, and b) heroic pumping from the Ogallala Aquifer. Personally, I don't see western Kansas remaining half as productive should one or both of those efforts fail. Minnesota has enough water lying about that even with marginal rainfall, it's probably best of the bunch.

Worst places: The West generally, the Southwest specifically.  I would really hate to be trying to farm or even garden 50 miles outside Phoenix when the government turns off the water, either because it's not available or because you're being uppity. Both happen.

Next time we'll take a look at a map that shows that all the good areas on this map are really bad, and the bad areas are all good: population density.

Multitudes, multitudes in the Valley of Decision.

* Proudly sponsored by the Marianna Florida Chamber of Commerce.
** I'm consciously trying to avoid creating another disaster pr0n site, so discussions of actual, theoretical SHTF scenarios will probably be few and far between unless someone wants me to address something specific.  There's plenty of other sites that will tell you that Rabbi Kim Obama Putin is ready to loose his alien nuclear EMP drones on the US Dollar and the Yellowstone Super Volcano right freaking now!
*** One of which will probably discuss why the USA is far and away the region of choice for Americans, no matter what happens.
**** We'll assume you're saving the well for people.


  1. I chose where to live based on what I can do, and how I see things. I have the freedom, as is, to live wherever I can afford to live. I am not sure it is optimal, but then... no place will be optimal when things go bad. A cabin out in the middle of nowhere? It beats a big city, probably, until it is found by a group intent on having what's in it. Big cities, of course, are deathtraps. I often wonder how many city folk have well stocked, well set up, places that will never be lived in because they never make it out of the city? And, how safe are those places, well stocked and geared, with no one to protect the materials?

    I went with a small town, in a reasonably crime free area, where many do have guns and prep, at least better than most areas. I chose a home that is solid, with the main part having walls of concrete and stone 2 to 3 foot thick. There is a river that flows by, though I am not sure, without the dam, how well that really works (then again, the water table is shallow, no more than 15-30 feet, on this side of town. The other side of town can't have basements, because of the mess of trying to dig and construct one, as the water table is as little as four feet there.

    You could drive yourself crazy. You simply can't prep well enough, ensure you can get to wherever is safe, or whatever else. I just don't let it bug me. I've chosen, set down roots, and will see what happens. I don't even think I'm lucky enough to just die, even without meds. Lived without them for 23 years before they found out what the problem is. I do have some uses, for a community. I just have to pray all that combines to as decent of a life as can be had.

  2. You simply can't prep well enough...

    I think that's a very important point that a lot of preppers miss. It is not about stocking enough food and guns to last until the zombies die off, then we can go back to normal.

    The truth is that our modern life is abnormal and will possibly/probably soon be making a transition back to what really is normal historically. So preparation should focus on gauging what that transition might entail and getting ahead of the curve, expecting the unexpected, and blunting the inevitable blows that life throws our way.