Article image

NOAA Alert: Severe geomagnetic solar storm warning issued

A significant space weather event has prompted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to issue a Geomagnetic Storm Alert.

The Space Weather Message Code ALTK07, issued at 1952 UTC on April 19, 2024, indicates that the geomagnetic K-index has reached a value of 7, crossing the threshold at 1951 UTC during the synoptic period of 1800-2100 UTC.

Initially, space experts anticipated the storm’s intensity to fluctuate between a G1 and G2 level, potentially escalating to G3 by Sunday.

However, the unpredictable nature of space weather has manifested itself, with a severe G3 level storm materializing within the last 24 hours.

The alert, classified as a G3 — Strong event on the NOAA Space Weather Scale, suggests that the area of impact is primarily poleward of 50 degrees Geomagnetic Latitude.

The NOAA Space Weather Scale descriptions can be found at

Potential impacts on power systems, spacecraft, navigation, and radio

The G3 – Strong geomagnetic storm alert warns of several potential impacts across various sectors:

  1. Induced Currents – Power system voltage irregularities are possible, and false alarms may be triggered on some protection devices.
  2. Spacecraft – Systems may experience surface charging, increased drag on low Earth-orbit satellites, and orientation problems.
  3. Navigation – Intermittent satellite navigation (GPS) problems, including loss-of-lock and increased range error, may occur.
  4. Radio – High frequency (HF) radio communications may be intermittent.

Aurora visibility extends to lower latitudes

One of the most visually stunning effects of this geomagnetic storm is the increased visibility of the aurora. The alert suggests that the aurora may be seen as low as Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Oregon, providing a rare opportunity for residents in these regions to witness the mesmerizing dance of the Northern Lights.

In the rare event of the storm reaching a G4 level of severity, the phenomenon could be observed as far south as Alabama and Northern California, a remarkable occurrence for these latitudes.

Active warning and continued monitoring

The Space Weather Message Code ALTK07 indicates that an active warning is in place, emphasizing the need for continued monitoring and preparedness.

As the geomagnetic storm progresses, NOAA and other space weather monitoring agencies will provide updates and further guidance to help mitigate the potential impacts on technology and infrastructure.

It is essential for individuals and organizations in the affected regions to stay informed about the development of this geomagnetic storm and to take necessary precautions to protect sensitive equipment and systems.

By understanding the potential risks and staying alert to official updates, we can work together to minimize the disruptions caused by this powerful space weather event.

Challenges of predicting geomagnetic storms

Predicting the precise intensity of geomagnetic activity remains a complex challenge for space experts, compounded by the increasing frequency of such events.

The uptick in geomagnetic storms is attributed to the Sun entering the peak phase of its 11-year solar cycle, a period marked by the magnetic field’s reversal.

Solar Cycle 25, which commenced in 2019, is expected to continue until approximately 2030, indicating a period of heightened solar and geomagnetic activity ahead.

As the world witnesses the awe-inspiring displays of the aurora, the scientific community continues to work tirelessly to better understand and predict the intricacies of space weather.

Visit the Space Weather Prediction Center for more information.


Like what you read? Subscribe to our newsletter for engaging articles, exclusive content, and the latest updates.

Check us out on EarthSnap, a free app brought to you by Eric Ralls and


News coming your way
The biggest news about our planet delivered to you each day