Revised forecasting shows the previously reported incoming solar storm caused by sunspot 1748 has a better chance of hitting us, but it's expected arrival has been pushed out a couple days.
The NOAA - Space Weather Center is predicting that the effects of the storm should peak in 42 hours, and will continue over the next 24-72 hours. The NOAA has said there is a 40% chance of a Major-severe storm at peak for High Latitudes. For Mid Latitudes there is a 10% chance of an Minor Storm.
VI. Geomagnetic Activity Probabilities 16 May-18 May
A. Middle Latitudes
Minor Storm 05/10/05
Major-severe storm 01/01/01
B. High Latitudes
Minor Storm 25/30/25
Major-severe storm 25/40/25
The expected Major-severe storm is likely to be a G3 and possibly a G4 class Geomagnetic Storm. According to the NOAA Space Weather Scales, for the higher latitudes this may cause widespread voltage problems that could cause temporary grid failure. The affects may include short-term power fluctuations or failure on a regional basis. It will likely only affect North America, Northern Europe and Siberian Russia.
The Mid-Latitudes is 10% chance of a Minor Storm, which is likely to be G3 storm. The Mid-Latitudes includes countries like Mexico, Northern Africa, India, and South East Asia. Many of these countries have less-developed power systems, and may experience power fluctuations or failure due to the lack of hardened power systems.
Power systems: voltage corrections may be required, false alarms triggered on some protection devices.
Spacecraft operations: surface charging may occur on satellite components, drag may increase on low-Earth-orbit satellites, and corrections may be needed for orientation problems.
Other systems: intermittent satellite navigation and low-frequency radio navigation problems may occur, HF radio may be intermittent, and aurora has been seen as low as Illinois and Oregon (typically 50° geomagnetic lat.)**.
Kp = 8, including a 9-
G 4 Geomagnetic Storm
Power systems: possible widespread voltage control problems and some protective systems will mistakenly trip out key assets from the grid.
Spacecraft operations: may experience surface charging and tracking problems, corrections may be needed for orientation problems.
Other systems: induced pipeline currents affect preventive measures, HF radio propagation sporadic, satellite navigation degraded for hours, low-frequency radio navigation disrupted, and aurora has been seen as low as Alabama and northern California (typically 45° geomagnetic lat.)**.
Kp = 8, including a 9-
G 5 Geomagnetic Storm
Power systems: widespread voltage control problems and protective system problems can occur, some grid systems may experience complete collapse or blackouts. Transformers may experience damage.
Spacecraft operations: may experience extensive surface charging, problems with orientation, uplink/downlink and tracking satellites.
Other systems: pipeline currents can reach hundreds of amps, HF (high frequency) radio propagation may be impossible in many areas for one to two days, satellite navigation may be degraded for days, low-frequency radio navigation can be out for hours, and aurora has been seen as low as Florida and southern Texas (typically 40° geomagnetic lat.)**.
Kp = 9
Heliosphere Density: This model shows the expected path of a solar storm released from the sun on May 13th. The incoming storm is expected to join with a solar wind stream at the time they impact the earth.
This double-whammy of a hit is expected to happen on May 17th at 4pm MST. The resulting storm may cause a form of magnetic reconnection that will cause our magnetosphere to realign.
While our magnetosphere reconnects X-rays and other high-energy particles can slip through to Earths lower atmosphere. Electronics not radiation hardened will likely fail, irreparably. Health risks may exist for airborne travelers.
Sunspot 1748's Solar Events (Time UTC):
The table below shows each of the solar flares that sunspot 1748 has shot out.
Multiple X-Class flares reported by the NOAA GOES Xray Data
The bar chart at the bottom indicates the storms Kp Index, which can be used with the Space Weather Scales to determine the affects the storm may have.
Sunspot 1748 Close Up 1600x1300 2013-05-13 - As seen by NASA's SDO Spacecraft
Sunspot 1748 - 4096x4096 - 2013-05-13 - As seen by NASA's SDO Spacecraft
Sunspot 1748 - 1280x720 - 2013-05-15 - As seen by NASA's SDO Spacecraft