See the northern lights sparkle over Washington — thanks to a ‘severe’ solar storm
Northern lights sparkled across Washington and other parts of the U.S. after an intense solar storm hit the past two days.
Initially, weather experts predicted a minor to moderate geomagnetic storm from March 23 to March 25, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
But instead a “strong” geomagnetic storm struck on March 23, followed by a “severe” one March 24.
“Forecasters did not see this one coming,” SpaceWeather.com said in a blog post.
The severe solar storm was the most intense storm in the past six years, the space weather monitoring website said.
A severe solar storm could cause issues to power systems, including “possible widespread voltage control problems and some protective systems will mistakenly trip out key assets from the grid,” according to NOAA.
G4 (Severe) Levels Reached! If you have clear skies tonight, look for the aurora where it may be visible. pic.twitter.com/kiMh9203m0
— NOAA Space Weather (@NWSSWPC) March 24, 2023
These unexpectedly strong storms brought glowing northern lights over northern parts of the country, including Washington, and they reached as far south as Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, NOAA said on Twitter.
But only those with clear skies were able to see the dazzling lights.
The National Weather Service in Spokane, Washington, caught a photo of the lights before 9 p.m. March 23.
“Tonight’s aurora is STUNNING! Spokane won’t have clear skies for much longer, so now’s your chance to get out and see the lights,” the weather agency said on Twitter.
Tonight's aurora is STUNNING! Spokane won't have clear skies for much longer, so now's your chance to get out and see the lights pic.twitter.com/IkDaNjGkUK
— NWS Spokane (@NWSSpokane) March 24, 2023
The National Weather Service in Seattle shared a “jaw-dropping” photo of the colorful display that was seen in Hansville on March 23, which is about 35 miles northwest of Seattle.
“That color of aurora is not common around here,” the agency said about the purple and pink hues.
There's something about the period around equinoxes that seem excite auroras. I mean, after a day like yesterday, who wouldn't be?
This image from @Skunkbayweather in Hansville this morning is just jaw dropping. And that color of aurora is not common around here. #wawx pic.twitter.com/RXYLYP2q7f
— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) March 23, 2023
Skunkbayweather captured the aurora in Hansville on March 24.
One of the images from this morning (3/24) show. #wawx @NWSSeattle @ScottSeattleWx @ShannonODKOMO @KClarkWx @Rebecca_Weather @AClaibonWx @WxMikeEverett @leahpezzetti @MorganKIRO7 @NickAllardKIRO7 @BMacTV @WxVillegas @abbyacone @timdurkan @TamithaSkov @WeatherNation pic.twitter.com/7BgyNX1qQh
— Skunkbayweather (@Skunkbayweather) March 24, 2023
Anyone who missed the northern lights will get another chance to see them this evening, March 24, the National Weather Service in Spokane said on Twitter.
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