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SOLAR STORM REACHES EARTH; MORE ACTIVITY EXPECTED

Image from the SOHO spacecraft of the intense solar activity on the sun taken Oct. 24, 2003, at 10:24 a.m. EDT.Oct. 24, 2003 — The geomagnetic storm predicted by the NOAA Space Environment Center hit the Earth's magnetic field at 11:30 a.m. EDT on Friday. It is currently at the strong G-3 level on the NOAA space weather scales—the highest being a G5. The solar particles and energy produced as a result of this storm can produce effects for many hours, so there is a possibility of seeing the aurora borealis or northern lights in the northern latitudes Friday night. (Click here to view larger image from the SOHO spacecraft of the intense solar activity on the sun taken Oct. 24, 2003, at 10:24 a.m. EDT. Click here to view high resolution version, which is a large file. Click here to view latest images. Please credit “SOHO.”)

Two very large sun spot regions continue to maintain their size and magnetic intensity. There have been three major flares in the last 24 hours, which caused considerable disruption of high frequency communication. More large flares are expected in the next few days.

"So far this storm is materializing as expected," said NOAA space weather forecaster Bill Murtagh. NOAA forecasters predicted the onset of the magnetic storm to occur midday Friday. The magnitude the of G-3 level storm is also in line with NOAA predictions.

NOAA thus far has not received any reports of the storm’s effects.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nationís coastal and marine resources. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Relevant Web Sites
NOAA Space Environment Center

NOAA Space Weather Scales

Latest SOHO images

Media Contact:
Barbara McGehan, NOAA Space Environment Center, (303) 497-6288