« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

John Wheeler, WDAY, Published August 01 2013

Weather Talk: Solar magnetic storms could cause millions to lose power

Everyone knows that atmospheric storms are occasionally strong enough to cause great disruption of life over a wide region. Think of Superstorm Sandy last fall. But not all of us are aware that solar magnetic storms, most of which merely cause aurora borealis, are occasionally capable of causing great disruption.

A recent report from the global insurance company Lloyd’s of London warns that a solar storm in 1859 caused people operating the new telegraph technology to receive severe electrical shocks, and that a similar storm today would be capable of overwhelming power grids in many parts of the world. Potentially, millions of people could be without electricity for weeks or even months.

It is estimated that solar storms as strong as the one in 1859 probably happen on average every 100 to 250 years.

– John Wheeler

Have a weather question you’d like answered? Email weather@wday.com,

or write to WDAY Stormtracker, WDAY-TV, Box 2466, Fargo, ND 58108

Read the blog at stormtrack.areavoices.com