US Power Grid & Communication Networks Survive Extreme Geomagnetic Storm

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by Tyler Durden
Saturday, May 11, 2024 - 12:00 PM

The Space Weather Prediction Center of NOAA warned on Friday night about an "extreme" G5 geomagnetic storm impacting Earth, which lasted into the early morning hours. While there have been disruptions in communications, no significant failures in the US power grid have been reported. Intense solar storms can disrupt the digital economy

G5 represents the highest level of a geomagnetic storm on a scale from G1 to G5. This intense space weather event led to disturbances in some satellite orientation and operations, as well as deterioration in radio communications that rely on ionospheric transmission. Additionally, there were some outages in GPS networks. 

"The solar storm has knocked out almost all long-distance shortwave radio," Captain John Konrad, CEO of Captain, wrote on X. 

Yet, no significant impacts on the power grid have been reported. 

Elon Musk reported hours ago, "Major geomagnetic solar storm happening right now. Biggest in a long time. Starlink satellites are under a lot of pressure, but holding up so far." 

The last G5 storm to hit Earth this strong was in October 2003, which sparked power outages across Sweden and damaged transformers in South Africa. Since then, the economy's digitalization has dramatically increased, which means there's an increasing risk of grid failures and disruptions in communication networks. 

We've outlined this in space weather notes over the years: 

Last year, we pointed out that the current solar cycle (Solar Cycle 25) is expected to peak sometime in 2025. 

This means the solar maximum is nearing or has already arrived. 

Even the federal government has started to prepare the nation for a space weather event with the 2016 executive order signed by the Obama administration titled "Coordinating Efforts to Prepare the Nation for Space Weather Events."  

Two decades ago, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta wrote a paper titled "Playing the Field: Geomagnetic Storms and the Stock Market," outlining that "people affected by geomagnetic storms may be more inclined to sell stocks." However, stocks are mostly traded by algos in today's market... 

Northern lights were reported across the country last night by X users:

The most powerful solar storm to rock Earth in recorded history, the Carrington Event, occurred in September 1859. It sparked fires in telegraph systems across Europe and North America.