Following up on this question, Would Living Underground during Impact Winter be Ideal, I realized I have more questions.
I was asking about an impact winter that was caused by an asteroid and leads to continuous snowfall and weather conditions that people are unprepared for.
The the answer I received was that underground works fine, but only for small groups and not in the long run. So then my response to that was, if an impact winter is happening, is there really another choice aside from living in a fortress if not underground?
I ask because in my previous question, we see what the benefits/cons are with Kromey's answer for underground shelters. However, living above ground doesn't appear to have too many benefits either. Some examples of this would be:
Above Ground Hazards:
- bursting pipes and frozen pipes = no heat/water, possibly flooding a place that will further cause temperature drop and hypothermia
- collapsing buildings (poor infrastructure)
- limited or no transportation
- being stranded to a small area with limited supplies or reach to others
- weak defenses for other desperate survivors or looters
- No power if utility poles and such fall down, same with communications
I also used this article for some reference. Now this is assuming that an asteroid hit during the start of an already early winter, so there's already a brewing blizzard. Let's say this asteroid happened in the mid-west of the US, and we're focusing on the east by the coasts. Here's what I imagine happening:
The setting of this question (happens in a period of days/2 weeks?)
- Some stubborn workaholics will show up to work even if some people stay home and some businesses close, we know it happens even during bad weather.
- Transportation is already limited, then the asteroid happens
- People panic, before public transportation shuts down it's clogged with city workers trying to get home
- Government is advising people to hunker in their homes/businesses until they can figure things out
- Transportation shuts down due to worsening weather, those that remain or didn't make the last trains/buses stay in their businesses or homes to wait for help.
- Worsening weather begins to cause some of the conditions I listed in the above ground hazard list
- Now there's two choices, wait above ground or find better shelter and re-supply. Not to mention if someone is clever enough to realize that the weather is only going to get worse, they'd want to get home or to a more permanent shelter asap.
But with the beginnings of an impact winter, help isn't arriving. No helicopter is going to fly in blizzard conditions and the government has enough to worry about with the midwest of the US hit by the asteroid and wondering how they're going to deal with the new "year without summer".
So now with all of that, I might be exaggerating a bit, but that's the point of fiction - is this the same thing others would envision happening to cities and how they stop functioning?
Also what gives me the impression that an impact winter is bad news and can force humans to seek shelter underground is what's on the Wikipedia page for impact winter as well:
Those on land could possibly be kept alive in underground microclimates, with one such example being the Zbrašov aragonite caves, greenhouses in such underground complexes with fossil or nuclear energy power stations could keep artificial sunlight growing lamps on until the atmosphere began to clear. Those outside that were not killed by the lack of sunlight would most likely be killed or kept dormant by the extreme cold of the impact winter.
See? "Be killed or kept dormant by the extreme cold of the impact winter."