Photo: iStock
The first stage of a hydrogen bomb cannot be scaled down, at least not easily. Photo: iStock

An analyst cited by military website Defense One estimates that a North Korean nuclear attack on Hawaii’s state capital of Honolulu would kill nearly 158,000 and injure 173,000 more.

“These calculations assume a Hiroshima-style blast that occurs some 2,000 feet above the surface, which would increase the amount of pressure and immediate explosive destruction but would also limit fallout,” the Defense One article said.

The mountains on the main island of Oahu behind the city are also expected to magnify the blast-back effect on the city.

Arms control expert Jeffrey Lewis was quoted as saying that most houses in Honolulu are of wood-frame construction. “So there is a significant chance of a firestorm following the blast which was what really devastated Hiroshima, much more so than the blast,” Lewis said. Virtually all of the Japanese homes in Hiroshima destroyed by a US atomic bomb in August 1945 were made of wood.

Hawaii’s civil defense system mistakenly warned islanders of an imminent North Korean missile attack earlier this month. The error caused pandemonium in various parts of the state.