The destruction from the explosion and fallout thereafter of a nuclear strike depend on weapon design and altitude / latitude of detonation.
These also vary based off the time of year it is conducted as well as local weather conditions at that given moment. For example, if there happens to be rain then radiation will spread more easily than say snow which stays compact under cool temperatures.
For the purposes of this intel guide, the focus will be on tactical nuclear bombs, not strategic nuclear bombs.
“Tactical nuclear weapons” are designed to be used on the battlefield and limited in their destructive power as suppose to “strategic nuclear weapons”.
They’re smaller than strategic thermonuclear implementations of warheads, so they can still cause wide-scale radioactive contamination against civilian targets like cities. But not as relatively decimating because these attacks would only target one specific location instead multiple or “all” locations.
– The following 4 tiered area levels of destruction and danger is as follows (as shown in the image):
LEVEL 1) The Decimation
The blast from the nuclear explosion would be so bright that it would be literally blinding. It’s estimated to cause a 50-foot deep crater and cremate almost everything in its path, including disintegrating every single person within a 5 city block radius.
LEVEL 2) The Shock
A sudden burst of wind speeds is estimated to be 500 mph or more. This would blow down some buildings and turn vehicles into deadly projectiles within a radius of 25 city blocks. All windows are expected to be blown out, along with many walls.
LEVEL 3) The Radiation
Most survivors of the initial blast within a 35 city block radius will eventually be killed by radiation in the coming weeks. The remaining people would suffer third-degree burns and internal damage that could result in permanent damage or eventual death.
LEVEL 4) The Residual
For the next indeterminate amount of city blocks, hurricane-like winds would cause relatively low kinetic damage but it would spread the radiation (albeit lesser and lesser intense amounts) unpredictably to as far as the weather will take it.
– As a survivor of the initial blast, if you are capable and mobile, these are the general steps to survive:
STEP 1) The Detonation
The nuclear bomb percussion detonates in the distance and you feel a sudden flash of light, as bright or even brighter than the sun. You quickly turn your face away from it and run for cover as the brightness dissipates.
You shield your eyes to avoid retina burns as the brightness from a nuclear blast returns again. The distinctive double flash is caused by between the fireball and shock wave, which get incredibly hot in the process.
When your eyes finally adjust back into vision again all trace of what was there has disappeared – only an afterimage remains behind where once were objects.
The bomb’s blast wave hit you full force, knocking the breath out of your lungs and leaving a burning sensation in your mouth. You find yourself covered with gamma rays, X-rays and neutrons.
The intense thermal radiation from the blast causes your skin to burn. This will continue as long as you’re in one of the target levels, finding cover indoors will slow down the damage.
STEP 2) The Shock Wave
The pressure shock wave travels outwards at high speeds, with reverse winds returning to ground zero in its wake. This creates devastating force capable of damaging everything within its radius but also any buildings or other objects upwind from it.
The shock wave travels at about 600 miles per second, which means that if you’re almost a mile away from where it went off, you have less than three seconds before being hit by debris or thermal radiation.
When dealing with a nuclear or any explosives blast, it’s important to stay away from any unstable buildings that might be destroyed by the impact. However, it’s critical to find cover to shield yourself from both thermal and radiation waves as they could kill you if exposed.
Get indoors as soon possible in a stable structure. Preferably underground (basement, parking garage, tunnel etc.) or reinforced shelter with strong walls, not behind glass or temporary / unfinished constructs.
The pressure from the nuclear blast will be doubled as it reflects off internal walls and superimposes with the original. So, avoid being near any part that might explode or get blown up – which includes staying away from doors and windows on either side.
If you’re in a relatively tall building with no basement, head for the staircases instead of hallways and certainly not inside elevators.
Avoid fully wooden and prefabricated building as these won’t survive a nuclear shock wave.
Open your mouth in response to the explosion, it enables the pressure wave on both sides of your ears.
STEP 3) The Fallout
The bomb will release a cloud of toxic radioactive particles which will be uplifted during the blast and deposited by winds. This process may continue for hours to weeks after the explosion has occurred, contaminating everything in its path with an amount sufficient enough that it could cause serious health problems over time.
The most crucial thing to do immediately before or after a nuclear blast is surround yourself with as much solid material that can provide protection against the heat, pressure and fallout released by the detonation.
Seal all windows and air gaps as best as you can with what you have. You can drink water from intact pipes or eat food that has been sealed in cans and plastic.
Vehicles, while most likely easily accessible, will provide practically no protection from nuclear fallout.
Don’t go outside unless absolutely necessary. When moving outside the protection of buildings and structures, any PPE available should be worn. Tactical nuclear bombs are designed for use against personnel or infrastructure targets but allows for troop movement under some degree of cover.
However, significant radiological hazards needs to be addressed properly if one expects survival beyond immediate contact with ground zero.
Once you find proper materials or better yet, professional help, you’ll need to decontaminate.
A nuclear bomb detonation in an urban area is a catastrophic event that can cause extensive damage to the environment and local population.
In the immediate aftermath of a tactical nuclear bomb attack, it’s important to stay indoors and avoid being exposed to further and continued radioactive fallout. If you are caught outside, seek cover immediately and do not look at the explosion.
If you are inside, stay away from windows and doors that may have been blown in by the blast.
If you have to leave your shelter, do so quickly and avoid contact with radioactive material.
If you become exposed to radiation after the explosion, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Don’t wait for symptoms to develop.
Radiation exposure can cause serious health problems, even death, years later.