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Best U.S. places to survive the apocalypse

By: Laura Moss on Aug. 13, 2010, 1 p.m.
Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center

Photo: Wikipedia Commons

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Mount Weather

If it was safe enough for Dick Cheney on Sept. 11, it should be safe enough for you on doomsday. But the Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center, a FEMA facility, may be difficult to gain entry to in the event of apocalypse.

Built during the Cold War as a relocation site for high-level officials in case of national disaster, Mount Weather plays a key role in U.S. continuity of government plans. It’s located in the Blue Ridge Mountains about 48 miles from Washington, D.C., and consists of two parts: the above-ground FEMA complex and the 600,000-square-foot underground facility.

Mount Weather has its own leaders, its own police and fire departments and even its own laws. No one has ever been allowed to tour the underground complex, but in 1991, Time magazine published an expose after talking to one of the facility’s retired engineers. He described a sprawling bunker complete with mainframe computers, air circulation pumps and a television and radio studio for post-nuclear presidential broadcasts.

You can access Mount Weather via Virginia State Route 601, but your odds of making it past the armed guards on doomsday aren’t good — unless you’re a priceless work of art. The National Gallery of Art is rumored to have developed a program to transport valuable paintings to the bunker via helicopter in the event of disaster.