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Strong Aurora Borealis Possible Overnight in North America

30 Oct 2021, 8:57 pm

Much of the Northern tier of the United States may be able to see the Northern Lights Saturday night into Sunday, thanks to a powerful geomagnetic storm that’s expected to arrive over the weekend.

On Thursday, the sun released a powerful X-Class flare with some of those energized solar particles directed at Earth and its magnetic field. That energy is expected to reach earth over the weekend, with the greatest potential for Aurora Borealis Friday night into Saturday and lower activity expected into Sunday morning.


Because of the strength of this particular event, the northern lights may be visible into the south! The line on the graphic below indicates where the aurora borealis may be visible on the northern horizon, including portions of Wyoming, Nebraska, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. The shaded region shows where the aurora may be active overhead, which includes most of the I-90 corridor north to the Canadian border. This forecast is courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The latest forecast can be found on their website.

For best viewing conditions, get away from city lights and try to find clear skies. Unfortunately for much of the eastern third of the country, clouds may block the view. A large area of low pressure is expected to keep thick cloud cover the region for much of the night. Cloud cover may also prevent some locations across the Northwest and Northern Rockies from seeing this event, though there may be breaks in the clouds at times.

Stay tuned to WeatherNation through the weekend for updates to this forecast.

About the author

Rob grew up in South Florida, where daily afternoon storms and hurricanes piqued his interest in meteorology early on. That interest was fostered by his teachers and his father, who one time brought him onto the roof of their home to watch a funnel cloud move through the Everglades several miles away. ... Load MoreYears of filmmaking and tv production in high school gradually pushed him toward broadcast meteorology at Florida State University, where he joined and eventually led the student run daily weather show. After graduating with a Bachelors of Science in Meteorology, he began his career at KESQ in Palm Springs, California before heading to KFSN in Fresno and WLOS in Asheville, North Carolina. He has covered a diverse array of extreme weather events, including haboobs and flash flooding in the desert, extreme snow in the Sierra, hurricanes, and Appalachian ice storms. He also enjoys telling stories and reporting about weather issues. Connect with Rob on Twitter