Strong solar storm impacts Earth and could disrupt communications in the US

CAPE CAÑAVERAL –€” A storm Unusually strong solar flare could produce northern lights in USA on the weekend and disrupt the power supply and communications.

The planet Land is experiencing its first “extreme” geomagnetic storm since 2003.

The National Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, issued a rare warning for a serious geomagnetic storm when a solar flare reached Earth on Friday afternoon, hours earlier than anticipated. The effects are expected to last throughout the weekend and possibly into the first few days of next week.

NOAA asked operators of power plants and aircraft in orbit, as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to take precautions.

“Most people here on planet Earth won't have to do anything,†said Rob Steenburgh, a scientist at NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center.

Flashes of greenish nuances

The storm could produce the northern lights in the southern tip of the United States, as well as in Alabama and northern California, according to NOAA. But this is difficult to predict and experts insist that they will not be the spectacular curtains of color that are usually associated with these phenomena, but rather flashes of greenish hues.

“That's really the gift of space weather: the northern lights,†Steenburgh said. He and his colleagues said the best images of the aurora could be captured with cell phone cameras, which are better at capturing light than the naked eye.

If you take a photo of the sky, “there could be a nice treat for you,†said Mike Bettwy, head of operations at the forecast center.

Storm level 4

The most intense solar storm on record occurred in 1859 and produced the northern lights in Central America and possibly even Hawaii.

“We don’t anticipate that,†but it could be close, said Shawn Dahl, a NOAA space weather forecaster.

This storm, a Level 4 on a scale of 1 to 5, poses a risk to high-voltage transmission lines on power grids, but not to power lines typically found in homes, Dahl told reporters. Satellites could also be affected, which could disrupt navigation and communications services here on Earth.

For example, an extreme geomagnetic storm in 2003 caused power outages in Sweden and damaged electrical transformers in South Africa.