The First Cities To Be Nuked

April 12, 2013, by Ken Jorgustin

The First Cities To Be Nuked

After all of the military command and control centers have been nuked, have you ever wondered which cities would be nuked first? You probably have not, because it is an unpleasant thought, and is something that most people believe would never happen. At one time between Russia and the United States alone, there were more than 20,000 nuclear warheads.

Not that long ago during the years of the Cuban missile crisis, every American feared the worst while the U.S. and the USSR were seemingly ready to end the world as we know it… Since then, stockpiles have been reduced somewhat, but in the big picture it is mostly irrelevant. If anything, the world is more dangerous today as apparently radical nations add their own nuclear weapons to the world’s nuclear arsenal.

Here is a mapped illustration of the top 30 most populated cities (and metro areas) in the United States which could potentially ‘go’ first in a nuclear war…

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Depending on the engagement (who, what, and to what end), military and/or key infrastructure targets might be hit first, but it won’t be long down the target list until major cities are taken out.

In a worst case all-out nuclear engagement, we might assume that all cities could be hit given the number of nukes that are available to countries like Russia and even China.

Leaving out arguments of motivation (or lack thereof) for nuclear war, for the curious here is a map of the thirty most populated cities in America and the thirty largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA), followed by the populations list.

Some of the metro areas (yellow) overlap with their associated cities (red) from the top-30 list, while others are unique – just as some of the cities in the top-30 are by themselves.

The diameter of the region is chosen to indicate a possible evacuation perimeter where people may likely reach while escaping the city region (until they run out of gas in their half-filled [or less] gas tanks). This perimeter is highly debatable and dependent upon many factors, but it’s a starting point to visualize an exodus.

First 30 Cities To Be Nuked

Full size map (3MB)

I have included the locations of any operating nuclear power plants located within any of the highlighted zones for added risk assessment. If a given region is nuked, the power grid there will likely go down, which may leave any regional nuclear reactor with only its diesel generators until they run out of fuel…

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1. New York (8,175,133)
2. Los Angeles (3,792,621)
3. Chicago (2,695,598)
4. Houston (2,099,451)
5. Philadelphia (1,526,006)
6. Phoenix (1,445,632)
7. San Antonio (1,327,407)
8. San Diego (1,307,402)
9. Dallas (1,197,816)
10. San Jose (945,942)
11. Jacksonville (821,784)
12. Indianapolis (820,445)
13. San Francisco (805,235)
14. Austin (790,390)
15. Columbus (787,033)
16. Fort Worth (741,206)
17. Charlotte (731,424)
18. Detroit (713,777)
19. El Paso (649,121)
20. Memphis (646,889)
21. Baltimore (620,961)
22. Boston (617,594)
23. Seattle (608,660)
24. Washington (601,723)
25. Nashville (601,222)
26. Denver (600,158)
27. Louisville (597,337)
28. Milwaukee (594,833)
29. Portland (583,776)
30. Las Vegas (583,756)

METRO AREAS (population – millions)
1. New York (19.6)
2. Los Angeles (12.8)
3. Chicago (9.5)
4. Dallas-Fort Worth (6.4)
5. Houston (5.9)
6. Philadelphia (5.9)
7. Washington (5.6)
8. Miami (5.6)
9. Atlanta (5.3)
10. Boston (4.6)
11. San Francisco (4.3)
12. Riverside (4.2)
13. Phoenix (4.2)
14. Detroit (4.2)
15. Seattle (3.4)
16. Minneapolis-St. Paul (3.3)
17. San Diego (3.1)
18. Tampa-St. Petersburg (2.8)
19. St. Louis (2.8)
20. Baltimore (2.7)
21. Denver (2.5)
22. Pittsburgh (2.4)
23. Charlotte (2.2)
24. Portland OR (2.2)
25. San Antonio (2.1)
26. Orlando (2.1)
27. Sacramento (2.1)
28. Cincinnati (2.1)
29. Cleveland (2.1)
30. Kansas City (2)

As an aside… Do you remember that TV series “Jericho”? Too bad they cancelled it…