NOAA forecasts strong geomagnetic storm after several eruptions on the Sun

Space weather forecast experts available for interviews

A view of the northern lights from the Minnesota wetlands.
A view of the northern lights from the Minnesota wetlands. (iStock Photo)

NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) — a division of the National Weather Service — is monitoring the Sun and solar winds following a series of Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) that began at 08:30 am EDT on August 14. Space weather forecasters predict a strong geomagnetic storm, a G3 on NOAA’s scales, late on August 18 and moderate (G2) geomagnetic storming on August 19. They have issued a Geomagnetic Storm Watch through August 19. 

Forecasters are monitoring a small, but compact and magnetically complex Sunspot grouping, designated active Region 3078, currently located just west of the Sun’s central meridian in the southern hemisphere. Region 3078 produced frequent flares, including an M5 X-ray flare (R2-Moderate radio blackout) at 3:58 am EDT on August 16. M-class flares are still possible from this sunspot region; however, recent imagery indicated possible signs of weakening and potential decay. 

SWPC forecasters continue to monitor NOAA’s DSCOVR satellite and its real-time solar winds for signs of the arrival and strength of the CMEs, and will issue any appropriate geomagnetic storm warnings once data is received. 

Geomagnetic storms can impact infrastructure in near-Earth orbit and on the surface, potentially disrupting communications, the electric power grid, navigation, radio, and satellite operations.  It can also drive the aurora further south from its usual position over the polar region. Auroras for this storm may be visible, if the weather conditions are favorable, as far south as Pennsylvania to Iowa to Oregon. Check NOAA’s latest aurora forecast here. 

VIDEO: NOAA's GOES-East satellite captured several eruptions from the Sun.

WHAT

Space weather experts available for interviews about the strong geomagnetic storm and impacts on Earth

BOOKING 

To book an interview, contact NOAA Communications:

Maureen O’Leary: maureen.oleary@noaa.gov; 202-578-5257 OR 

Theo Stein: theo.stein@noaa.gov; 720-391-0163   

NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center is the official source for space weather forecasts, watches, warnings and alerts. Visit www.spaceweather.gov for updates. The public can subscribe to receive NOAA space weather alerts, warnings, and watch information at pss.swpc.noaa.gov.