Heat Advisory issued June 22 at 2:52AM EDT until June 22 at 8:00PM EDT by NWS Wilmington OH (details ...)
* WHAT...Heat index values in the upper 90s to around 100 degrees.
* WHERE...Portions of east central and southeast Indiana, northeast and northern Kentucky, and central, south central, southwest, and west central Ohio.
* WHEN...Until 8 PM EDT this evening.
* IMPACTS...Hot temperatures may cause heat illnesses.
Today 93° Today 93° 76° 76° chance Tomorrow 84° Tomorrow 84° chance 66° 66° slight chance
Friday, May 10th

Strong solar storm could disrupt communications and produce northern lights in US

By MARCIA DUNN AP Aerospace Writer

This image provided by NASA shows a solar flare, as seen in the bright flash in the lower right, captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory on May 9, 2024. A severe geomagnetic storm watch has been issued for Earth starting Friday and lasting all weekend _ the first in nearly 20 years. (NASA/SDO via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - An unusually strong solar storm headed toward Earth could produce northern lights in the U.S. this weekend and potentially disrupt power and communications.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a rare geomagnetic storm watch - the first in nearly 20 years. That was expected to become a warning Friday night, when the effects of the solar outburst were due to reach Earth.

NOAA already has alerted operators of power plants and spacecraft in orbit to take precautions.

"As far as the worst situation expected here at Earth, that's tough to say and I wouldn't want to speculate on that," said NOAA space weather forecaster Shawn Dahl. "However, severe level is pretty extraordinary, It's a very rare event to happen."

NOAA said the sun produced strong solar flares beginning Wednesday, resulting in five outbursts of plasma capable of disrupting satellites in orbit and power grids here on Earth. Each eruption - known as a coronal mass ejection - can contain billions of tons of plasma and magnetic field from the sun's outer atmosphere, or corona.

The flares seem to be associated with a sunspot that's 16 times the diameter of Earth, according to NOAA. An extreme geomagnetic storm in 2003 took out power in Sweden and damaged power transformers in South Africa.

The latest storm could produce northern lights as far south in the U.S. as Alabama and Northern California, according to NOAA.

The most intense solar storm in recorded history, in 1859, prompted auroras in central America and possibly even Hawaii. "That's an extreme-level event," Dahl said. "We are not anticipating that" but it could come close.