Effects of Severe Geomagnetic Storm Linger

Strong geomagnetic Aurora Borealis
Strong geomagnetic Aurora Borealis | Image by Noppawat Tom Charoensinphon/Getty Images

Portions of the globe are still feeling the lingering effects of a massive solar storm that hit earlier this week.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a geomagnetic storm watch for March 26, warning of isolated bouts of “minor geomagnetic storming” after the largest such storm seen since 2017 struck two days prior.

Such phenomena are usually not a cause for public concern, but they can increase auroral activity and create some power grid fluctuations.

Solar storms, also known as geomagnetic storms, occur when bursts of magnetically charged material and energy from the sun, such as solar flares or coronal mass ejections, impact the Earth. Namely, these emissions can cause minor disruptions along the planet’s magnetic field, which ultimately deflects them.

The protective power of the magnetic field is why solar storms pose little threat. Nonetheless, some scientists believe that an exceptionally powerful event could cause an “internet apocalypse,” as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

NOAA rates geomagnetic storms on a scale from one to five. A G1 event is rated as “minor” and capable of causing weak fluctuations to power grids, while a G5, or “extreme” event, can cause complete blackouts and grid collapse, as well as sightings of the aurora borealis as far south as Texas.

This happened last year, with two rare sightings of the phenomenon materializing within the span of two months in the Texas Panhandle, as covered by The Dallas Express.

The solar storming observed on Sunday and Monday peaked at a G4 or “severe” rating. No adverse effects to technology were reported, nor were any unusual auroral sightings — sadly for aurora chasers.

The latest NOAA geomagnetic storm watch suggests that G1 conditions are expected throughout Tuesday, with some chances of the aurora being visible in the upper Midwest states.

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