We've heard of it in movies and thought what it might really be like. But the possibility of its existence has always been blurry and questionable. The secret organisations run by Government of USA have always been a cause of curiosity - and now we know of one. Just as they mentioned in the movie The Sum Of All Fears, Mount Weather actually exists.
What is Mount Weather?
The Mount Weather Emergency Operations Centre is a major reallocation site for the highest level civilian and military officials in case of a national emergency. It is a 564-acre, high-security federal government facility along the Loudoun-Clarke County border in Virginia.
Used as the centre of operations for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and r un by the run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security it plays a key role in U.S. continuity of government plans.
What makes it SO cool?
Built during the Cold War as a relocation site, the facility consists of two parts: the above-ground FEMA complex and the 600,000-square-foot underground facility. And that's not it. Just as in the movies, Mount Weather actually has its own security system. It has its own leaders, its own police and fire departments and even its own laws.
This underground bunker includes a hospital, crematorium, dining and recreation areas, sleeping quarters, reservoirs of drinking and cooling water, an emergency power plant, and a radio and television studio which is part of the Emergency Braodcasting System. The facility is meant to accommodate about 2000 people, but only the President, the Cabinet, and Supreme Court are provided private sleeping quarters.
When was Mount Weather last used?
According to official records, Mount Weather was briefly activated by federal agents on April 7 2015 after a major electric power interruption hit the Washington D.C. region . It was also used during the 9/11 attacks, when the entire Congressional leadership was transported there by helicopter.
When was it built?
The back-up centre was built during the cold war, completed in 1958. Jacob Rosenthal, a former top aide to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy said that he along with a few colleagues were sent to Mount Weather during the Cuban Missile Crisis. "This was the master relocation site for government, inside the bowel of the mountain," he added.
How was the secret revealed?
Mount Weather's existence remained a secret to all but top federal officials till the TWA 514 flight crashed in 1974 in close proximity to the site. But even then federal officials guarded the areas, not allowing any pictures of the site. The cameramen were not even allowed near the smoking debris of the crash that claimed 90 lives.
What people have to say
Though right in the middle of the country, even residents of Virginia hardly know the reality inside Mount Weather. Residents and community leaders nearby said Mt. Weather is a large employer but a widespread mystery to the people and even to some of the facility's own employees.
Mount Weather influences in pop-culture
It is obvious that such a mysteriously working operations centre in the USA has stirred curiosity among many. A number of movies have mentioned the existence of Mount Weather, or have fictionally used the idea. The remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still and Memorial Day are two such examples. The final episode of The X Files and the second season of The Earth has mentions of the site.
Mount Weather is also mentioned in novels like Behold A Pale Horse, Seven Days In May and The Sum Of All Fears. The popular video game Call Of Duty also features Mount Weather.