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Re: The "Catastrophe"
The movie version strongly suggests the effects of “nuclear winter”. Near the beginning, the man looks out to the horizon to see a series of bright flashes (missile strikes?). He immediately fills all available containers with water. After this, the family seems to be staying under cover as much as possible, using only their own stored resources. These last two suggest the fear of radioactive fallout.
Multiple nuclear hits would throw enormous volumes of dirt and dust into the air, blocking the sun for some time, lowering temperatures, and leading to what some have described as a nuclear winter. This could last for some time, and may end up killing most plant and animal life on the planet. This is also suggested in the movie by a continual black, dirty looking, brooding sky, and low temperatures.
"I suspect that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose"
— JBS Haldane