One of the biggest solar storms in five years is headed toward Earth. The Space Weather Prediction Center says it could affect power grids, GPS signals and even some airplane flights.
But power grid operators in Texas aren’t expecting much effect. Dottie Roark, spokesperson for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the electric grid for much of the state, says not to worry.
“Solar storms are mainly a factor in the upper latitudes because the Earth’s magnetic field acts as a shield against this type of solar weather,” she told StateImpact Texas collaborator KUT News. “So that shield is weakest at the north pole and the south pole, so that’s why it may affect some of the high latitudes more than here in our region.”
The solar storm is forecast to start hitting Earth around 11 o’clock Wednesday and should peak around 7 Thursday morning. You can watch an animation of it here from NASA, but be warned: there’s a lot of pretty colors swirling about. Updates are available on this NASA site.
And here’s a video: