Very late tonight and again tomorrow night there is a chance you could see the aurora borealis or northern lights. Note I wrote CHANCE. I have still never seen them even after telling viewers multiple times that a CHANCE is on the way “tonight”. Why? Often they just appear for a few minutes or dozens of minutes at a time and then disappear. Sometimes they don’t appear at all in our skies even though a geomagnetic storm is in progress. Just to throw a number out there, if you were to go outside late tonight and stare up at the sky for 5 minutes out in the country…you probably have a 5% chance of seeing the northern lights. Out of the ENTIRE night NOAA guesses we have about a 50% chance of seeing them at some point during the night. Seems like aurora forecasting is about where weather forecasting was 100 years ago.
As of 5pm the storm has not yet arrived. So don’t even bother in the next few hours. Keep an eye on www.spaceweather.com to see what’s going on elsewhere across the Northern Hemisphere.
You can find the latest planetary “K” index at this website: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/planetary-k-index
It’s a measure of geomagnetic storm activity. When the level jumps to 6 & 7 that’s a big storm. As of 5:30pm it’s all quiet and the storm has not arrived. Keep in mind that the times are in UTC…which is 8 hours ahead of us. So we’re actually 1 hour 30 minutes into December 31st in UTC time…got it?
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen