Northern lights could appear across Canada as ‘severe’ geomagnetic storm nears

The most severe geomagnetic storm of the past 20 years is expected to hit Earth on Friday night, which could impact power grid systems, navigation and radio and satellite communication. But the upside to this rare event is that Canadians across the country may be able to see a spectacular display of aurora borealis.

The U.S.’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which tracks space weather events, is anticipating that northern lights could be seen as far south as northern California and Alabama. The geomagnetic storm may last throughout the weekend.

The northern lights will “likely be visible across Canada where the sky is clear on Friday night and then again potentially on Saturday night,” according to Media meteorologist Anthony Farnell.

“For best viewing, you should try to get away from the bright city lights and look to the north. With the intensity of this event, the northern lights could even be directly overhead and bright enough to be seen even in major cities,” he added.

Given that we’re “just coming off the new moon,” the light of the moon is not expected to interfere with tonight’s aurora, Farnell said.

Most parts of B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan look to have a clear or mostly clear cloud forecast for tonight. People in southern Manitoba around Winnipeg are also in luck.As for eastern Canada, most of Ontario looks cloudy expect for pockets around the Greater Toronto area. Southern Quebec looks to be clear or mostly clear, along with Labrador. Unfortunately, the Maritime provinces may miss out on the light show.Areas around Whitehorse and Yellowknife looking mostly clear for tonight, as well northern Nunavut.

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