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Small chance of an aurora light show Saturday night

We’re watching the slim possibility that our area will be in a prime location to see the northern light Saturday night. The NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center has issued a Moderate Geomagnetic Storm Watch for the northern portion of the U.S. effective Saturday night as a solar flare that occurred two days ago is expected to send energy toward the Earth that may produce an increased likelihood of aurora activity.

Here’s the statement from NOAA:

A G2 (Moderate) geomagnetic storm watch is in effect for the 23 March, 2019 UTC-day due to anticipated CME arrival. An asymmetric halo CME was observed in SOHO/LASCO coronagraph imagery and initial analysis of the CME in both LASCO and STEREO-A coronagraph imagery shows an Earth-directed component is likely. The CME was associated with a C4 flare on 20 March, 2019 at 1118 UTC (0718 EDT). Continue to monitor our SWPC webpage for additional updates.

The areas on the map (above) between the green and yellow lines are expected to be in the zone for seeing norther lights on Saturday night starting just after sunset. Our area is centered nicely between those lines, so it would appear we’ll have a decent shot at seeing somewhat of an Aurora Borealis display is it develops in the way NOAA space experts are predicting.

The current Futurecast for Saturday evening is showing that clouds will be thickening around sunset Saturday through midnight when the first few spotty rain showers move in ahead of Sunday’s storm system. As it stands right now, we’ll have partly cloudy conditions and a small chance to see the aurora should it develop in our northern sky. Temperatures will be about ideal for March standards with evening readings in the 40s and just a light south breeze, so that will certainly be beneficial for those interested in aurora gazing.

Ted Schmidt

Morning and Noon Meteorologist

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