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Good news, bad news for aurora forecast

Published: Oct. 10, 2021 at 8:32 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The aurora forecast for the next 24-hours is a good news, bad news situation for much of Alaska. The University of Alaska-Fairbanks Geophysical Institute has set the aurora forecast at a 6 which is “High +” for activity Monday. The aurora could be visible as far south as New York, Wisconsin and Washington State. That’s the good news.

The bad news is two-fold. One, most of Alaska will be under cloudy to mostly cloudy skies, even some rain and snow showers. Not prime aurora viewing weather.

The second issue is timing. According the Geophysical Institute, the strongest aurora will appear between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Monday. With full daylight, the aurora won’t be visible even if you have clear skies.

But it’s not all bad news. If clear skies appear in your area, highly active auroras are expected around 7 a.m. Alaska Time on Monday. So instead of the overnight search for aurora, this round of northern lights activity will be most visible in the hours before sunrise.

Another opportunity for highly active auroral displays comes Monday night, just after sunset. The Geophysical Institute puts the forecast for Monday between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. at a 5, on a scale of 0 to 9.

The Space Weather Prediction Center has issued a G2 (Moderate) Geomagnetic Storm Watch for Monday, Oct. 11. This can cause power grid fluctuations and voltage alarms at higher latitudes, according the SWPC website.

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