May 10-12: TV may be impacted by solar storm

The Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) — a division of the National Weather Service — has released a very unique kind of weather forecast: they have issued a severe geomagnetic storm watch due to a series of solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) they’ve been monitoring.

The SWPC says, “CMEs are explosions of plasma and magnetic fields from the sun’s corona. They cause geomagnetic storms when they are directed at Earth. Geomagnetic storms can impact infrastructure in near-Earth orbit and on Earth’s surface, potentially disrupting communications, the electric power grid, navigation, radio and satellite operations.” The watch is in effect on May 10, but the SWPC says, “additional solar eruptions could cause geomagnetic storm conditions to persist through the weekend.”

What this means for you

Geomagnetic storms could impact TV signals, resulting in pixilation, tiling, or loss of signal. There is nothing TV channel owners nor TDS can do to combat this natural solar phenomenon.

In good news, if the skies are clear, you might get a chance to see the Northern Lights. The SWPC explains, “Geomagnetic storms can also trigger spectacular displays of aurora on Earth. A severe geomagnetic storm includes the potential for aurora to be seen as far south as Alabama and Northern California.”

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