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Severe Geomagnetic Storm Hits Earth

Between 9 and 10 AM on Wedneday, April 11, a severe geomagnetic storm struck earth. Auroras may be visible into the middle lattitudes tonight, which would include most if not all of the United States.

A G-4 level magnetic storm is the second highest on the scale. It is capable of causing widespread voltage control problems in power systems, and inducing protective devices to remove power assets from the grid.

Satellites may have tracking problems, and surface charging could lead to damage in some cases.

Radio signal propagation may be sporadically disrupted, satellite navigation degraded, and low-frequency radio navigation also disrupted.

Auroras are likely to be seen as far south as Northern California and Alabama. It is believed that a storm of this type may have a short-term effect on weather by cooling parts of the stratsophere and heating other parts. Some scientists believe that longer term climactic effects are involved as well. During the current solar maximum, the northern hemisphere is experiencing unusually cold weather, but whether or not this is attributable to the effect of the solar storms is unknown.

Solar activity is very high at this time, even for a period of solar maximum.

Current activity is emerging from Solar Flare 9415, which has a complex magnetic field that is believed likely to harbor still more explosive energy. The sunspot is approximately four times the size of the earth.

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