Is Tampa Bay prepared for a meteor strike?

11:39 PM, Feb 15, 2013   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida-- Dateline 02.15.13. A meteor explodes in the sky over Russia.

A ten ton rock unleashing a supersonic concussion that rocks the earth -- buildings collapse, glass shatters, and people are slammed to the ground. 

See also: Russian meteorite strike: Local astronomers, NASA react

What follows next is chaos and panic. Thousands fearing they are under nuclear attack. It caught everyone off guard- even scientists never saw it coming because...

"These are very small objects, so [they are] very difficult to detect. Even at a distance they are very dim objects, and their isn't much lead time to warn you of them," said St. Pete College Astronomer Craig Joseph.

That's the analysis of Astonomer Craig Joseph, who has been mapping the cosmos for almost 30 years. 

But if he cant see space rocks, what about local emergency management? What would happen if that same meteor was targeting Tampa Bay? Does Tampa Bay have a meteor emergency plan?

See also: Earth safe after asteroid flyby

"No. Our disaster plan is multi-hazard. It could be for a hurricane, or it also could be a tornado, or an asteroid strike. The whole idea is that we have people prepared," says Tom Iovino from Pinellas County.

Residents in Tampa Bay have a hurricane plan, but probably not a meteor or asteroid plan, which would likely cause a different kind of panic. 

So what's the plan if a strike here was catastrophic?

"If we outstripped our ability to handle that, we would put in a request to Tallahassee," said Iovino.

So what's the advice for a disaster with no warning? Strangely enough, it's the same for every other geo-threat.

"Out in California we see Earth quakes with no warning at all, but the people there and in Oregon and Washington still prepare," said Iovino.

See also: Russian meteorite injury toll more than 1,000

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