Scientists have issued two geomagnetic storm watches for Wednesday through Friday due to recent solar activity.
Space weather forecasters predict a strong geomagnetic storm late Thursday and a moderate geomagnetic storm on Friday.
A coronal hole has allowed solar wind to escape the sun in a high-speed stream, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center. On August 17, that stream is likely to cause minor geomagnetic storms.
On August 18, however, multiple coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are expected to arrive at or near Earth. Scientists believe this will result in an increased geomagnetic response. This means that power grids, GPS, and satellite communication may be affected.
According to the SWPC, this could cause the northern lights to shift and auroras to appear in the upper Midwest, far northeast, and parts of the north-central states.
According to NOAA, despite the large number of coronal mass ejections, “most are expected to have little to no impact at Earth” as they are expected to “pass ahead or south of Earth’s orbit.”