Imagine a scenario in which a fireball from a nuclear weapon hits NYC. It would vaporize buildings directly below and unleash a massive blast wave and high-speed winds that would tear the skyscrapers apart. These forces of nature would produce temperatures up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and the fireball would create fires that spread like wildfires. The blast would be powerful enough to cause third and fourth-degree burns.
As the atomic blast travels through the air, it would generate a plume that would be up to 60 miles away from NYC. It would take days for the plume to dissipate, and the resulting hot zone would extend for many miles. Once the plume had vaporized, disaster teams would begin the process of cleaning up the site. While this radiation would be too low to cause acute symptoms of radiation sickness, it could still damage the human body and increase the risk of cancer.
A nuclear warhead that lands on New York City would cause an unprecedented amount of destruction. In fact, one-megaton bombs could cause so much damage that people living in NYC could be buried in a bag of household products. While there are various protection measures that could prevent a nuclear attack on New York City, our detection systems have not caught up to this threat. So, if you have any doubts, go ahead and research the topic. The truth may surprise you.
What would happen in Manhattan if someone launched a nuclear weapon? Many people would be instantly vaporized by the blast, with many more being vaporized in the heat and crushed under buildings and pierced by flying debris and secondary fires. In fact, if a nuclear weapon hit New York City, the area would be as devastated as any major city. Most residents, however, would not be in the same condition as those who were killed in Hiroshima.
Imagine a huge fireball bursting in the middle of NYC, with an explosion that would send a wave of searing heat outward. This would result in a massive fireball with a core temperature of several million degrees Fahrenheit. The fireball would also create an enormous shockwave, the same as the initial pulse from a nuclear explosion. The shockwave would be so powerful that it would take decades to recover.
If we had twenty 50-kiloton warheads, we could destroy almost three times the area of Manhattan. Even a single one-megaton warhead could result in a half-million dead or injured. Moreover, nuclear weapons also have the potential to cause a climatic change and possibly even a global nuclear winter. The climate would fall by four to eight degrees Celsius, and we would lose five million people.