Solar storm to hit Earth this weekend and could impact US communications, experts warn

Most people will not experience a disruption from the storm. But if a disruption does occur, it would most likely impact radio transmissions, GPS, and electrical power grids. 

Published: May 10, 2024 7:05pm

The biggest solar storm in almost two decades is expected to hit the Earth this weekend, including parts of the United States, which could impact U.S. power and communications.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the storm would be the most powerful one since 2005, The Hill reported, and the severity is ranked number four out of five on the geomagnetic storms scale.

Despite the higher ranking, most people will not experience a disruption, but Americans could possibly see northern lights as far south as Alabama. If a disruption does occur, it would most likely impact radio transmissions, GPS, and electrical power grids. 

“Geomagnetic storms can impact infrastructure in near-Earth orbit and on Earth’s surface, potentially disrupting communications, the electric power grid, navigation, radio and satellite operations,” NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center said in a release. “SWPC has notified the operators of these systems so they can take protective action.”

The storm could also impact people on the International Space Station, but is not expected to pose a serious threat. The biggest concern would be from the radiation, NASA said, but the astronauts can move to a better protected area of the station if necessary, according to Politico.

The radiation could also affect some of the space agency's instruments, including their satellites.

Experts said the northern lights display will not be as vibrant in the United States as a traditional aurora, but the sky could still have a greenish hue. People that want to see the lights should also try to point their cameras or cellphones up at the sky, because they are better at capturing light than the human eye.

The solar storm is expected to begin Friday evening, and stretch into Saturday.

The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook

Unlock unlimited access

  • No Ads Within Stories
  • No Autoplay Videos
  • VIP access to exclusive Just the News newsmaker events hosted by John Solomon and his team.
  • Support the investigative reporting and honest news presentation you've come to enjoy from Just the News.
  • Just the News Spotlight

    Support Just the News