Questions about "Jericho"

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Big
Why was it so dangerous for the people to go out in the
supposedly radiation-laced rain, yet there was no radiation in the
rainwater that had collected in pools after the storm?
	Also, wouldn't a nuclear blast create a strong electromagnetic
burst which would erase the contents of the tape in the plane's black
box?
                                            
Allen
Fallout mixed in the rain was the 'worst case scenario' they got lucky and 
it didn't happen.

EMP doesn't erase stored magnetic media unless you are very close, in which 
case you are crushed, burned or vaporized depending on just how close you 
were ;)
                                            
Daniel
Actually it was the best case scenario. The rain filtered the radiation 
out of the air. They were very lucky that storm hit when it did. 
Otherwise they would have died like all the animals on the outskirts of 
town.

As to whether touching the contaminated rainwater with your hand would 
be dangerous, I don't know. 
 
-Dan Damouth
                                            
Allen
That's one of the dumbest things I have seen anyone say on the Usenet, which 
is saying a lot.  Having the fallout wash out with the rain way away from 
where you are is the best case scenario, having it washed out where you are 
is the worst case!  Either way the rain concentrates the fallout, they were 
fortunate the fallout was not concentrated on their location and no two ways 
about it, if the fallout had been concentrated there they would have had to 
stay in shelters for weeks until it decayed away!

Look at the fallout patterns for the Chernobyl accident, the whole thing was 
revealed to the world because a rainstorm dumped fallout at a Swedish NPP 
and set of their detectors.  At first they though their own facility was 
leaking but they quickly determined otherwise.  The biggest concentrations 
in Europe outside the area next to Chernobyl are those where the rain fell 
through the fallout, some homes in Norway had to be abandoned for almost a 
year because the rain made concentrated fallout around the houses where it 
came down the rain gutters and downspouts.

As for touching the contaminated water being dangerous, it depends on how 
active the fallout is and how concentrated the dose is.
                                            
Daniel
Surely the worst-case scenario was everyone in town dying within days 
from either inhalation of radiation or asphyxiation. Fallout was in 
the air and headed their way from Denver, killing animals along the 
way from inhalation.  One could conclude that a lot of the fallout 
had already been removed from the atmosphere between Denver and 
Jerico (thanks to the rain!) so that by the time it got to Jericho it 
was survivable.

I wonder if the writers were guided by this news story:
http://nucnews.net/nucnews/2003nn/0304nn/030418nn.htm

"The test, code-named Simon, occurred on April 25, 1953, atop a 300-
foot tower in the Nevada desert. The mushroom cloud rose higher than 
expected, to 44,000 feet above sea level, where a wind of about 115 
miles an hour carried the fallout swiftly to the Northeast. Thirty-
six hours later, a severe rainstorm in Troy washed much of the 
fallout out of the air and into the ground.

The extent of the exposure has come to light gradually."

Of course, in Jericho they were a lot closer to the explosion, and we 
know that fallout was killing animals on the outskirts of town 
(before the rain). 

So, I guess 

(1) they were unlucky that their country got bombed, and
(2) they were unlucky that there was a strong wind directly from 
Denver, but
(3) they were lucky there was a big rainstorm between them.

An alternate interpretation is that most of the fallout was high in 
the atmosphere, killing only the birds (I don't recall ground animals 
being seen dead, and I don't have it on tape), and that it might have 
passed over Jericho entirely, in which case the storm was alarming 
but also served to take the worst of the fallout out of the air and 
drop it between them and Denver.


Exactly, it all depends on things we don't really know. All we are 
given is clues like dead animals. And, as they characters point out, 
no hydrogen bomb has even gone off at a city, so we can't predict.

-Dan Damouth