Will NYC see northern lights Sunday before solar storm ends? | Forecast

Will the New York City area see the northern lights tonight? With clear skies, New Yorkers could get that chance. 

Millions of people in the U.S. as far south as Alabama could be in for another dazzling display of the Northern Lights on Sunday night as Earth continues to be blasted by a historic geomagnetic storm that hasn’t been experienced in decades.

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Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), also known as aurora, colorful lights shift, illuminate the sky in Rochester, New York, United States on May 11, 2024. (Photo by Lokman Vural Elibol/Anadolu via Getty Images)

From: Getty Images

When will it be best to view the northern lights tonight?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center suggests that prime viewing times typically fall within an hour or two of midnight, spanning from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

What happened Friday night?

The sky was filled with vibrant colors of green, pink and purple from the Northern Lights as far south as Florida and Texas on Friday night after a massive sunspot the width of 17 Earths spewed solar flares, leading to geomagnetic storm activity reaching Level 5 "extreme" conditions.


The Northern Lights are seen above the Columbia River Gorge from Chanticleer Point Lookout in the early morning hours of May 11, 2024 in Latourell, Oregon. Places as far south as Alabama and parts of Northern California were expected to see the auror

After a brief drop to Level 3 and 4 conditions, solar activity reenergized Saturday, and storms returned to Level 5 conditions, according to NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC).

The SWPC said another series of coronal mass ejections (CME) associated with the solar flare activity in the same region over the past several days are expected to merge and arrive at Earth on Sunday afternoon.


This graphic shows current and forecast solar storm conditions on Earth. (FOX Weather)

Because of that, a Geomagnetic Storm Watch was issued for Sunday as Level 4 "severe" conditions and possibly Level 5 "extreme" geomagnetic storms are likely to follow.

Space weather forecasters say watches at that level are very rare, and the Northern Lights may be visible from Sunday night into early Monday over much of the northern half of the U.S. and maybe as far south as Alabama and Northern California.

FOX Weather contributed to this report.