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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Radio Blackout-Severe Geomagnetic Storm

A strong geomagnetic storm could cause problems on Earth.
A geomagnetic storm hit Earth Monday as energy from a series of solar explosions reached Earth’s magnetic field — and space weather forecasters say it could be a multi-day event.

NOAA map shows radio disturbances on Earth from the geomagnetic storm.  (NOAA)
    NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) said the magnetic storm,  which is forecast to hit a "severe" G4 level, slammed into Earth a little before 3 p.m. EDT Monday.
    The solar activity is the result of the sun releasing a series of coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which NASA describes as “huge explosions of magnetic field and plasma from the Sun’s corona.” 
    NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded a CME June 18, a second on June 19, and then a third on June 21. Energy from the third CME traveled swiftly enough to join the previous two.

    The Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks outlines the best chances to see the aurora in North America.  (Geophysical Institute/University of Alaska) reports there was a “moderately strong blackout of shortwave and low-frequency radio signals over North America,” and that the Earth’s poles were experiencing a deeper blackout. A blackout map from NOAAshows the reach of the blackouts.
      Radio distruptions aren’t the only way the storm could impact Earth. Skywatchers in Europe and the U.S. are likely to see dazzling Northern Lights displays much further south than average.
      The Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks said the aurora could be visible in a long stripe of the U.S. from Alaska into the Pacific Northwest, the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes and New England. Scientists said there was a chance people as far south as Oklahoma City and Raleigh, North Carolina, could get a glimpse of the lights.
      Astronauts at the International Space Station were already taken aback by the celestial show. Scott Kelly excitedly tweeted a photo of a red hue pulsing around the Earth, exclaiming, "I've never seen this before -- red aurora. Spectacular!"

      Astronaut Scott Kelly took this photo from the International Space Station as the geomagnetic storm hit Earth Monday. (Astronaut Scott Kelly/NASA)
        “This is the very early stages of an event that will play out over many hours,” SWPC forecasters said of the geomagnetic storm.
        SWPC predicts the storm could last into Tuesday, and could possibly reach the intensity of a similar storm in March, which allowed people into the Tennessee Valley and Upper Midwest to spot the Northern Lights.
        MORE ON WEATHER.COM: Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti’s Pictures from Space

        Severe  Thunderstorm  Threat  Reaches  the  Northeast  Tuesday (FORECAST)

        The threat of severe thunderstorms with damaging winds, hail, and perhaps a few tornadoes reaches the Northeast Tuesday, including the heavily-populated Interstate 95 corridor. Other severe storms may erupt over parts of the Ohio Valley, Missouri Valley, and Plains.
        The Storm Prediction Center tallied 13 reports of tornadoes Monday, primarily in northern Illinois and southeast Lower Michigan. National Weather Service staff will perform damage surveys Tuesday to confirm (or classify as straight-line winds) and rate the intensity of Monday's tornadoes. 
        One possible tornado caused damage in the Woodhaven Lakes development west of Sublette, Illinois with reports of people trapped inside trailers. In Millington, Michigan another possible tornado destroyed a house and in Grundy County, Illinois a building collapsed with people trapped.
        Monday morning, winds over 70 mph battered parts of South Dakota, southern Minnesota and northern Iowa as a derecho, a long-lived squall line of severe thunderstorms, roared through before weakening over southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois shortly before lunchtime.
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