At least South Florida seems safe.
Amid the bellicose threats this week from President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, scientists are trying to figure out the unthinkable: how far could a North Korean Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) travel?
All their estimations leave Florida out of range, although that might be cold comfort in the event of a nuclear strike on the U.S.
A report this week indicated Pyongyang had produced a nuclear warhead that could fit inside a missile.
North Korea’s most advanced rockets are now believed to be able to reach virtually all of the continental United States, with only the Florida peninsula presently beyond their range,” said The Guardian news organization, without attribution.
Most calculations contain a lot of “ifs.”
The Guardian said North Korea’s KN-08 rocket could potentially have a range of 7,200 miles, making its farthest reach a line that runs through central Mexico, North Florida and eastern Atlantic Ocean, if the missile had been successfully tested, which it has not.
North Korea has threatened to fire ballistic missiles toward Guam, about 2,100 miles away.
Most other news organizations including the New York Times, CNN and AP concluded that a missile tested by North Korea late last month might be capable of reaching the U.S. West Coast but the rogue regime doesn’t seem to have solved the problem of how to keep one from burning up from the intense heat upon re-entry to the earth’s atmosphere.
According to the New York Times, David C. Wright, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, an anti-proliferation group in Cambridge, Mass., said in a blog post on Friday that a North Korean missile appeared to have an effective range of at least 6,500 miles — putting Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago well within range. He wrote that Boston and New York “may be just within range, and Washington “may be just out of range.”
The Times analysis said North Korea has on its drawing boards a Hwasong-14 ICBM estimated to reach 6,500 miles, or along a line from the Southeastern U.S. up the Atlantic Seaboard, but the missile has not yet been tested. It credits the information to the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.
Bottom line: In Florida, we might be in for a particularly crowded tourist season.