Solar Flare Activity Prompts Severe Geomagnetic Storm Watch 

A major solar storm is expected to intensify the northern lights this Friday, with forecasts indicating that the auroras could be visible as far south in the United States as Alabama. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center announced that a series of solar flares and eruptions from the sun could result in severe geomagnetic storms, leading to spectacular auroras from Friday evening through the weekend. 

Solar Flre

First Severe Geomagnetic Storm Watch Since 2005 

This marks the first severe geomagnetic storm watch issued by NOAA since 2005. Shawn Dahl, a service coordinator at the Space Weather Prediction Center, emphasized that this is a rare event and advised caution due to potential disruptions to communications, power grids, and satellites. The exact timing of the storm's arrival is uncertain, but it could begin around 8 p.m. ET on Friday. 

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NASA's Advanced Composition Explorer to Monitor Solar Wind 

A NASA spacecraft, the Advanced Composition Explorer, will be instrumental in measuring the solar wind and determining the storm's impact with greater accuracy. The northern lights occur when charged particles from solar storms interact with Earth's magnetic field and atmosphere. Although typically seen at high latitudes, strong geomagnetic storms can extend the auroras further south, making this a unique opportunity for observers across the United States. 

LOOK: The most expensive weather and climate disasters in recent decades

Stacker ranked the most expensive climate disasters by the billions since 1980 by the total cost of all damages, adjusted for inflation, based on 2021 data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The list starts with Hurricane Sally, which caused $7.3 billion in damages in 2020, and ends with a devastating 2005 hurricane that caused $170 billion in damage and killed at least 1,833 people. Keep reading to discover the 50 of the most expensive climate disasters in recent decades in the U.S.

Gallery Credit: KATELYN LEBOFF

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