SPOKANE, Wash. – While it is true the Earth is on a geomagnetic storm watch for March 14-15, media reports of a “massive” solar storm hitting the planet are not entirely correct.
The actual warning is for a “G1” watch, which is the lowest level NOAA uses.
“G1 is the most minor of all these storms,” explained Matt Fugazzi, from the National Weather Service. “These aren’t that uncommon and they generally don’t have that much of an impact.”
The geomagnetic storm forecast for Wednesday could impact some satellite operations and cause some power grid fluctuations, but most likely we won’t notice any difference.
Other media outlets, like the International Business Times, reported there will be a geomagnetic storm on March 18, which NOAA officials clarified were exaggerated and misinterpreted from another report.
"This story is not plausible in any way, shape or form," Bob Rutledge, of NOAA's Space Weather Forecast Center, told Newsweek and confirmed to KREM. "Things are all quiet for space weather, and the sun is essentially spotless."
If there were severe or extreme geomagnetic storms (G4 or G5 level storms) There could be rolling blackouts, grid system collapses and major issues with satellites.
On the upside, the geomagnetic storm NOAA is predicting will still allow parts of the Northern United States to see the Northern Lights a little bit better.
Matt Fugazzi, National Weather Service
Bob Rutledge, NOAA