The solar storm warning and what it means for you

The Solar Storm Warning

Most of us do not get Solar Storm warnings on our phones, like we do for tornadoes or flooding. In fact, it was somewhat startling to see that a Solar Storm was a part of the news headlines this morning.  It’s a relatively rare event, the last one actually affecting earth occurring in 1989. However, there are a few things to note, and as always, a few precautions to take.

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Take Note

First, don’t worry.  No one is expecting fire balls to rain down from the heavens.

Secondly, in the northern portions of our country, it’s going to look awesome!  Check the northern skyline for the aurora.  Even middle regions of the country may be able to see the aurora if the sky is clear.

Thirdly, the primary damage that can be caused from a solar storm is electrical.  Power grids can go down and satellites can be disrupted.  For us this means the possibility of power outages and and cell tower outages.  So take a few basic precautions.

Precautions

  1. Avoid power surge damage by unplugging computers, televisions and similar devices.  If you can’t unplug, make sure theses types of items have surge protectors.
  2. Power outages can mean lost data.  Run a computer backup today, before any potential outage.  This is especially important for businesses  – instruct employees to run backups and save as they go for today and tomorrow.
  3. Make sure the propane tank for your gas grill is full.  At this time of year, most of us are fortunate enough to be able to cook a few meals on the grill if we are without electricity.
  4. Have a well?  Grab a few gallons of water and keep them handy for drinking and brushing teeth.
  5. Get land-line phone numbers.  While many of us still have landline phones, we rely on our cell phones almost exclusively.  However, if cell service is down, and you need to check on Mom who is living by herself three hours away, make sure that you have a written log of her land-line phone number.
  6. The good news – it’s not February.  So heating issues and frozen pipes will not be a problem.  More good news – the solar storm is slated to affect us on Friday evening and Saturday, not in the middle of a work week.  Most of us probably won’t even realize that it has happened!  Fingers crossed.

Need more information?

Check out CNN’s coverage for information in laymen’s terms.

Or check out the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association for more technical information.

 

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