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Electric Sky Alert: 'Severe Geomagnetic Storm' Watch Activated Nationwide - How Will It Impact You?

Electric Sky Alert: 'Severe Geomagnetic Storm' Watch Activated Nationwide - How Will It Impact You?

Space Weather Alert: Rare 'Severe Geomagnetic Storm' Watch Issued for Weekend

The National Weather Service's Space Weather Prediction Center made a historic announcement on Friday, putting out a "severe geomagnetic storm watch" set to unfold over the weekend. This marks the first time such a warning has been issued in nearly two decades.

The sun stirred on Wednesday, unleashing a series of plasma eruptions, five in total, with the potential to disrupt both satellites in orbit and Earth's power grids. These bursts of high-energy radiation, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), may also treat viewers to breathtaking aurora displays from Friday evening onwards, extending through the weekend. Forecasters suggest that even states as far south as Alabama and Northern California could be treated to glimpses of the elusive northern lights.

Explaining the phenomenon, Delores Knipp, a space weather research professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, likened it to a cosmic collision: "The mass ejected from the sun carries some of the sun’s magnetic field with it. When the magnetized matter from the sun collides with Earth’s magnetic field and rams into the outer layers of our protective field, we often get a geomagnetic storm.

These storms are categorized on a scale from G1 (minor) to G5 (extreme). The impending weekend storm is classified as a G4, considered "severe" by the agency. Despite an average occurrence rate of around 100 G4 storms per 11-year solar cycle, only three have been recorded since December 2019, with the most recent striking on March 23. This watch is the first "severe" geomagnetic storm alert since 2005.

Reflecting on the potential impact, Shawn Dahl, a service coordinator at the Space Weather Prediction Center, voiced concern over the rarity of the event: "We have a rare event on our hands. We're a little concerned. We haven't seen this in a long time.

In light of the disruptive potential, communication, satellite, and grid operators have been duly notified to brace for impact. The storm is anticipated to kick off around 8 p.m., prompting preparations nationwide.

As we await the onset of this unprecedented geomagnetic storm, it's crucial for individuals and communities to stay informed and prepared for any potential disruptions. While the prospect of witnessing spectacular auroras may be enticing, it's important to prioritize safety and take necessary precautions, especially for those in regions prone to grid or communication disturbances. As scientists and experts monitor the situation closely, let's remain vigilant and ready to adapt to any challenges that may arise from this rare cosmic event.

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