PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregonians may be able to catch a glimpse of the magnificent aurora borealis, or northern lights, on Wednesday as a strong geomagnetic storm hits Earth.
The Space Weather Prediction Center issued a strong geomagnetic storming watch for December 30.
It could have potential effects on power systems, high-frequency radio transmissions and even GPS devices.
The northern lights may be visible to people in Illinois and Oregon. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts the storm may peak to visible levels between 5 p.m. Wednesday to as late as 2 a.m. Thursday.
SWPC/NOAA originally predicted the storm would peak to visible levels between 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. Wednesday.
Unfortunately, the northern lights aren’t visible if they peak during daylight hours.
The newest models give us our best bet to catch the lights here in the Pacific Northwest: A delayed geomagnetic storm with visible peaks overnight Wednesday.
KOIN 6 Meteorologist says overnight conditions will bring clear skies and good conditions to view the aurora borealis, should it peak during that time.
If you’d like to catch the lights, be sure to go away from the city center toward areas with little light pollution. You may have better chances of witnessing the phenomenon the closer you are to Washington.
Geomagnetic storms are described as, “major disturbances of Earth’s magnetosphere that occur when there is a very efficient exchange of energy from the solar wind into the space environment surrounding Earth,” according to SWPC.