Space Weather

The term “space weather” refers to the variable conditions on the sun and in space that can influence the performance of technology we use on Earth.

Space weather can produce electromagnetic fields that induce extreme currents in wires, disrupting power lines, and evGOES-19 SUVI Composite photo on 01/31/2023en causing widespread power outages. Severe space weather also produces solar energetic particles, which can damage satellites used for commercial communications, global positioning, intelligence gathering and weather forecasting.

The sun is the main source of space weather. Sudden bursts of plasma and magnetic field structures from the sun's atmosphere called coronal mass ejections together with sudden bursts of radiation, or solar flares, all cause space weather effects here on Earth.

Current space weather conditions 

Current Electric Power Community Dashboard

 Space weather-related power outages can cause:

  • Loss of water and wastewater distribution systems.
  • Loss of perishable foods and medications.
  • Loss of heating/air conditioning and electrical lighting systems.
  • Loss of computer systems, telephone systems and communications systems (including disruptions in airline flights, satellite networks and GPS services).
  • Loss of public transportation systems.
  • Loss of fuel distribution systems and fuel pipelines.
  • Loss of all electrical systems that do not have back-up power.

Prepare now

  • Build an emergency kit
  • Make a family communications plan.
  • Learn more about preparing for power outages.
  • Be aware that most medication that requires refrigeration can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem. Check with your physician or pharmacist if you are unsure about your specific medication.
  • Keep your car’s gas tank at least half full. Gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.
  • Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it.
  • Keep extra batteries or external chargers to charge your phone, laptop and other small electronics in the event of a power outage. Keep a car phone charger in your car.

More info on space weather from in: