Solar storm in progress

Solar Radiation Storm In Progress

Key Points

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    • Right now the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) does NOT believe this storm will be categorized as the "biggest solar storm in years".
    • However, it has been several years since "strong" levels have been observed across all three NOAA Space Weather Scales used by SWPC for one event (Geomagnetic Storms, Solar Radiation Storms, and Radio Blackouts).   
      • At this point in time, the January 2012 Solar Radiation Storm was stronger than the current storm.
      • The level of Radio Blackout activity associated with this storm is not as strong as what was observed in August 2011.
      • Strong (G3) Geomagnetic Storming is the maximum level predicted with this storm, which is the same level of storming that was observed in August 2011.
  • A solar flare erupted from the Sun Tuesday night at 7:04pm EST, creating an R3 (Strong) Radio Blackout.
    • This affected the sunlit side of the Earth (Pacific Ocean longitudes at the time).
    • The primary impact was a temporary degradation of High Frequency communications affecting communication with commercial aircraft over the Pacific.
  • Currently, a S3 (Strong) Solar Radiation Storm is occurring.
    • This is affecting HF communication in the polar regions, rendering HF unusable at the highest latitudes.
    • There are several confirmed reports of commercial airlines avoiding the polar routes because of the disruption to HF communication.
  • Geomagnetic storming reaching the G2 (Moderate) level is occurring now as a result of activity originating on March 5th.
  • More geomagnetic activity is expected after midnight Eastern tonight with the arrival of the coronal mass ejection associated with Tuesday’s R3 event.  Storm periods reaching the G3 (Strong) level are likely.
    • G3 levels are not likely to cause damage or protective device trips in power grid elements.
    • G3 levels could cause Global Positioning System errors, resulting in impacts to users with high-accuracy requirements (surveying, precision navigation, etc).
    • G3 levels could cause aurora to be visible from the northernmost states in the “Lower 48”.
  • The region responsible for this activity, NOAA Region 1429, remains potent and subsequent activity is possible throughout the next 10 days as this region rotates across the visible disk and out of view.


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