Federal officials say a severe solar storm hit the Earth with a surprising strength Tuesday, potentially affecting power grids and GPS tracking while pushing the colorful northern lights farther south.
The Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado says this storm ranks a 4, called severe, on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's 1-to-5 scale for geomagnetic effects. It is the strongest solar storm to blast Earth since the fall of 2013. It's been nearly a decade since a level 5 storm, termed extreme, has hit Earth.
Forecasters say early Wednesday , before sunrise, auroras may be seen in the northern tier of the U.S., Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.