In a world where the stability of our power grid is increasingly under threat, knowing which urban areas to avoid during a blackout is crucial for any serious prepper. And which areas to escape as quickly as possible. When you’re making your survival plans, keep in mind that these are the places you don’t want to be.
1. New York, NY
Imagine being in the heart of New York when the power grid collapses. This bustling metropolis, a beacon of dreams and ambitions, could quickly become a nightmare. The city’s dense population and reliance on technology make it particularly vulnerable. Remember the chaos of the 1977 blackout? Magnify that tenfold. You wouldn’t want to be caught in a maze of dark skyscrapers and unpredictable crowds.
2. San Francisco, CA
San Francisco, famed for its tech innovations and iconic landmarks, is not the place to be during a blackout. Picture navigating those steep hills without electricity. Add to that the limited local food sources and the potential for social unrest; you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Let’s not forget the inevitable gridlock on the escape routes.
3. Chicago, IL
Chicago’s sprawling urban landscape might seem like a stronghold, but in a power outage, it’s a trap. The city’s notorious traffic jams could turn lethal when the grid goes down, blocking your escape routes. In a city where trust can be as scarce as daylight during a blackout, you’d be wise to have a plan to get out quickly.
4. Monroe, LA
In Monroe, it’s not just the darkness you’ll have to worry about; it’s who might be lurking in it. With high crime rates, the city could become perilous when the lights go out. Imagine defending your supplies against those desperate enough to break in for a meal or warmth.
5. Harrisburg, PA
Harrisburg might seem innocuous, but its crumbling infrastructure could turn a power outage into an inescapable nightmare. Think about being stranded amidst failing bridges and pothole-riddled roads when you most need to be mobile.
6. Jackson, MS
In Jackson, the fragility of infrastructure is already a known problem. Imagine being without water or the ability to recharge your communication devices. Staying in Jackson during a grid failure could mean facing both resource scarcity and safety concerns.
7. Houston, TX
Houston’s vast size and population density make it a challenging environment during a blackout. Competition for resources could become fierce, and escaping the urban sprawl might be nearly impossible due to traffic congestion.
8. Camden, NJ
Camden’s reliance on surveillance and technology for law enforcement could backfire in a power outage. Without electricity, the city’s crime issues could be exacerbated, making it dangerous for its residents.
9. Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles, known for its traffic nightmares, could become a prepper’s worst scenario during a grid collapse. Imagine the chaos when millions try to flee the city, or when basic services and communications are cut off. Being stuck in LA during a blackout could be a perilous experience.
10. Austin, TX
Austin’s rapid growth and diverse population could pose unique challenges during a blackout. The city’s vibrant nightlife might turn into a chaotic scramble for resources, making it a dangerous place to be when society’s norms are upended.
11. Glasgow, MT
While Glasgow’s remoteness is usually a virtue, in a blackout, it could be a curse. Being cut off from essential services and support could turn survival into a daunting task, even for the most seasoned prepper.
12. Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia, particularly areas like Kensington, could become a hotbed of desperation and lawlessness in a prolonged power outage. The lack of societal safeguards could lead to a rapid decline in public safety and order.
13. Washington, D.C.
In the event of a grid collapse due to an attack, Washington, D.C., could be the epicenter of chaos. As the nation’s capital, it might not only be a primary target but also a place of intense unrest and competition for evacuation and resources.
14. New Orleans, LA
New Orleans, already familiar with the consequences of infrastructural failures, could face catastrophic flooding and crime in a prolonged blackout. The city’s unique challenges with water management and public safety make it a particularly risky place to be during a power grid failure.
15. Boston, MA
Boston’s combative spirit, a legacy of the American Revolution, could take a dark turn in a prolonged blackout. Known for its fiery temperament, the city’s dense population and notorious traffic congestion make it a challenging place for resource competition and evacuation. In a crisis, these factors could transform Boston from a historic gem into a survivalist’s nightmare.
16. Denver, CO
Denver, while scenic and vibrant, sits alarmingly close to several missile facilities. In a grid-down scenario linked to foreign threats, the city could face environmental dangers on top of resource scarcity. The influx of new residents only adds to the potential for chaos in the Mile-High City.
17. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
Marked as a likely target in nuclear scenarios, Dallas-Fort Worth’s sprawling urban landscape could become a trap in a blackout. The city’s complex highway system, already challenging in peaceful times, could turn into impassable mazes, leaving residents stranded in a vast metropolitan area.
18. St. Louis, MO
Despite its declining population, St. Louis still houses around 300,000 people – too many for comfort in a grid-down situation. The city’s deteriorating infrastructure, like broken water mains and poorly maintained roads, could significantly hamper any chance of a swift recovery after a blackout.
19. Seattle, WA
Seattle has shown a tendency for social unrest, as seen in the establishment of autonomous zones. In a blackout-induced chaos, there’s a high chance of such incidents recurring. This unpredictability, coupled with lingering social tensions, makes Seattle a precarious place during widespread emergencies.
20. Indianapolis, IN
Indianapolis might embody Midwestern values, but it’s not immune to urban challenges. High crime rates and recent surges in violence paint a grim picture of the city’s safety in a grid-down scenario. Additionally, the lack of electric heating in winter months could have dire consequences.
21. Minneapolis, MN
The focal point of significant civil unrest in recent years, Minneapolis harbors underlying tensions that could escalate in a blackout. Rising crime rates, particularly in violent and property crimes, add to the city’s potential for chaos during a prolonged power outage.
22. Memphis, TN
With the highest per capita homicide rate in 2023, Memphis is a city where crime is a serious concern. In a scenario where societal norms collapse, such crime rates could escalate, making Memphis a highly risky place to be during a power grid failure.
23. Chattanooga, TN
Chattanooga’s ranking as one of the worst-run cities in the U.S. raises questions about its preparedness and response capabilities in an emergency. Reliance on local authorities in a blackout could be problematic, given the city’s administrative challenges.
Katy Willis is a writer, lifelong homesteader, and master herbalist, master gardener, and canine nutritionist. Katy is a preparedness expert and modern homesteader practicing everyday preparedness, sustainability, and a holistic lifestyle.
She knows how important it is to be prepared for whatever life throws at you, because you just never know what's coming. And preparedness helps you give your family the best chance to thrive in any situation.
Katy is passionate about living naturally, growing food, keeping livestock, foraging, and making and using herbal remedies. Katy is an experienced herbalist and a member of the CMA (Complementary Medical Association).
Her preparedness skills go beyond just being "ready", she's ready to survive the initial disaster, and thrive afterward, too. She grows 100% organic food on roughly 15 acres and raises goats, chickens, and ducks. She also lovingly tends her orchard, where she grows many different fruit trees. And, because she likes to know exactly what she's feeding her family, she's a seasoned from-scratch cook and gluten-free baker.
Katy teaches foraging and environmental education classes, too, including self-sufficient living, modern homesteading, seed saving, and organic vegetable gardening.
Katy helps others learn forgotten skills, including basic survival skills and self-reliance.
She's been published on sites such as MSN, Angi, Home Advisor, Family Handyman, Wealth of Geeks, Readers Digest, and more.