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NOAA Update: Solar storm warning, impacts on power, satellites, aurorae

Update — May 2, 2024, 1639 UTC

Potential impacts on power systems, satellites, and more

A recent space weather message has been issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), warning of a significant geomagnetic storm that is expected to impact Earth.

The warning, which is valid from 1640 UTC to 2100 UTC on May 2, 2024, indicates that a geomagnetic K-index of 7 or greater is anticipated.

This geomagnetic storm is classified as a G3 or greater event on the NOAA Space Weather Scale. It has the potential to cause widespread effects, particularly in areas poleward of 50 degrees geomagnetic latitude.

Power systems and induced currents

One of the primary concerns during a geomagnetic storm of this magnitude is the impact on power systems. Voltage irregularities may occur in power systems, and false alarms could be triggered on some protection devices. Utility companies should be prepared for potential disruptions and take necessary precautions.

Spacecraft and satellite issues

Spacecraft in orbit around Earth may also experience challenges during this geomagnetic event. Satellites in low Earth orbit may encounter increased drag, which can affect their orientation and trajectory.

Additionally, spacecraft surfaces may experience charging, which can interfere with their proper functioning.

Navigation and GPS disruptions

Navigation systems, particularly those relying on GPS, may face intermittent problems during the geomagnetic storm. Users of GPS technology may experience loss-of-lock and increased range errors. It is important to be aware of these potential issues and have alternative navigation methods available if needed.

Radio communication interruptions

High-frequency (HF) radio communication may also be affected by the geomagnetic storm. HF radio signals can become intermittent during such events. This can impact long-distance communication, including aviation, maritime, and amateur radio operations.

Aurora visibility

One of the more visually stunning effects of a strong geomagnetic storm is the increased visibility of auroras. During this event, auroras may be visible at much lower latitudes than usual.

People in areas as far south as Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Oregon may have a chance to witness these mesmerizing displays in the night sky.

To stay informed here at about the latest space weather conditions and alerts, and visit the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center website at

As the geomagnetic storm unfolds, it is crucial for individuals and organizations to take appropriate precautions and stay updated on any further developments. By being prepared and informed, we can minimize the potential disruptions caused by this powerful space weather event.


Update — May 2, 2024, 1412 UTC

On May 2, 2024, at 1412 UTC, a geomagnetic sudden impulse was observed by the HAD station, with a deviation of 29 nT. A Geomagnetic Sudden Impulse (SI) Expected Warning is issued when a shock has been observed in the upstream, in situ solar wind data.

Based on the post-shock velocity, space weather forecasters generate a warning period indicative of when this disturbance is expected at Earth.

The Geomagnetic Sudden Impulse Summary product is issued when the shock is actually observed at Earth, as indicated by the response of ground-based magnetic observatories. These products are useful in that they can confirm the actual arrival of anticipated coronal mass ejection (CME).

G2 event with K-Index of 6 thus far

This event has triggered a warning from the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), indicating that a geomagnetic K-Index of 6 is expected to occur between 1450 UTC and 2100 UTC on the same day.

According to the SWPC, this geomagnetic storm is classified as a G2 event on the NOAA Space Weather Scale, which is considered a moderate level of severity. The potential impacts of this storm are expected to be primarily felt in areas poleward of 55 degrees Geomagnetic Latitude.

For more information on the NOAA Space Weather Scales and their potential impacts, please visit

Power grid fluctuations and voltage alarms

One of the main concerns during a geomagnetic storm of this magnitude is the potential for power grid fluctuations. High-latitude power systems may experience voltage alarms, which could lead to disruptions in electrical service.

Utility companies in affected areas are advised to monitor their systems closely and take necessary precautions to minimize any potential damage or outages.

Satellite irregularities and increased drag

Spacecraft in orbit around Earth may also be affected by the geomagnetic storm. Satellite orientation irregularities may occur, which could temporarily disrupt communication and navigation services.

Additionally, low Earth-orbit satellites may experience increased drag due to the heightened activity in the Earth’s magnetic field, which could cause them to slow down and require adjustments to their orbits.

High-frequency radio propagation fading

Another potential impact of the geomagnetic storm is the fading of high-frequency (HF) radio propagation at higher latitudes.

This could affect long-distance communication, particularly in areas near the poles. Users of HF radio services should be prepared for possible disruptions and have alternative communication methods available if necessary.

Aurora visibility expands

On a more positive note, the geomagnetic storm may also bring the beautiful aurora borealis, or northern lights, to a wider range of locations than usual. The SWPC predicts that the aurora may be visible as far south as New York, Wisconsin, and Washington state during this event.

Skywatchers in these areas are encouraged to look to the northern horizon for a chance to catch a glimpse of this stunning natural phenomenon.

As the geomagnetic storm unfolds, the SWPC will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as necessary. Stay tuned for more updates.


Powerful M9.5 flare from strong solar activity causes radio blackouts (May 2, 2024)

Solar activity has reached high levels, with five sunspot groups present on the visible solar disk. In addition, background X-ray flux levels have increased mostly in the low C-class levels, according to a forecast discussion prepared by the NOAA, and the Space Weather Prediction Center on May 1, 2024.

Region 3654, located at solar coordinates S07W70 with a Fkc/beta-delta classification, has weakened slightly in its magnetic complexity, with the gamma configuration appearing to diminish.

However, the mixed polarity delta spot in the intermediate section has retained its magnetic shear, and the instability was evident as it produced an M9.5/2b flare at 30/2346 UTC and a long duration C5.8 at 01/0758 UTC.

An associated CME was observed with the long duration C5.8 flare, but analysis suggests an Earth-directed component is unlikely due to the region’s far west location.

New region 3663 emerges and undergoes slow growth

New Region 3663, located at N25E27 with a Bxo/beta classification, emerged and underwent slow growth but remained stable. The remaining regions were inactive and had little change.

The forecast predicts that solar activity is likely to be moderate, with a slight chance of low-level X-class flares (R3; Strong) on May 1, primarily due to the magnetic complexity of Region 3654 and its history of flare production.

However, as the region rotates closer to the limb, M-class flare probabilities decrease to a chance on May 2 and further decrease as the region rotates beyond the limb on May 3.

Energetic particle flux remains normal to moderate

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux was normal to moderate, and the greater than 10 MeV proton flux remained at background levels.

The forecast expects the greater than 2 MeV electron flux to continue at normal to moderate levels from May 1-3, while the greater than 10 MeV proton flux is expected to maintain at background levels.

Solar wind environment experiences disturbance

The solar wind environment was indicative of a slow regime until a disturbance in the field occurred near 30/1130 UTC. Total IMF increased from ambient levels and peaked at 14 nT, while the Bz component underwent a prolonged southward deflection with a maximum negative deviation of -8 nT.

Solar wind speed underwent a slight escalation but peaked around 425 km/s. The cause of the disturbance is uncertain, but a possible candidate is an isolated negative polarity CH HSS or a transient passage.

The forecast anticipates a disturbed and variably enhanced solar wind field over the next three days due to possible weak transient passages followed by additional CH HSS effects from an isolated positive polarity CH HSS that should become geoeffective on May 3.

Additionally, a CME that departed the Sun on April 29 with mainly a westward component may cause near proximity influences or weak flanking effects later on May 3.

Geomagnetic field reaches active levels

The geomagnetic field reached active levels for a few periods in response to the disturbed solar wind field. The forecast expects G1 (Minor) geomagnetic storming during the early hours of May 1 due to transient-like effects.

Active levels, with a chance of G1 (Minor) storms, are anticipated from May 2-3 in varying response to CH HSS effects and possible transient passages.

Minor geomagnetic storming anticipated as solar wind fluctuates

In summary, the Space Weather Prediction Center’s forecast discussion reveals a dynamic and ever-changing solar environment. As Region 3654 continues to generate flares and new regions emerge, solar activity remains high.

The forecast predicts moderate activity with a chance of strong X-class flares, while particle flux levels remain stable. The solar wind environment experiences disturbances, potentially causing geomagnetic storming in the coming days.

As these events unfold, scientists continue to monitor and analyze the data, providing crucial information to help us understand and prepare for the impacts of solar activity on our planet.


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