Northern Lights may be visible in West Michigan overnight

Weather News

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — There is a chance that we may be able to see the Northern Lights Wednesday night here in West Michigan this week.

As is the case most times, the forecast that the dancing lights may be visible is not a guarantee.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s Space Weather Prediction Center has issued a G2 Geomagnetic Storm Watch for Tuesday through Thursday associated with solar flare activity. The peak interaction with Earth is expected to be during the night hours Wednesday.

A storm of this magnitude typically kicks Kp-index numbers to 6. That’s important for us here in West Michigan, because we can typically see the northern lights when the Kp-index hits 6 or higher.

Wednesday’s event is forecast to be visible for areas between the green and yellow lines drawn on the map below:

Lines showing where the aurora can be visible based on Kp-index values.

The forecast for Wednesday night is for mostly clear skies and a bright moon. If you are planning on trying to see the Northern Lights, go out after dark away from city lights and look to the north.

Space weather forecasting is never a guarantee. Often, solar storms can hit several hours earlier or later than originally expected or are unable to produce the intensity originally expected.

We are entering into to a more active sun spot period, which means the sun has an increased chance of solar flares. If the solar flares are facing the direction of Earth, it can trigger a storm watch. This means even if the aurora doesn’t come to play for Michigan this time, we will very likely have more chances in the near future.

If you capture photos of the Northern Lights, you can send them to ReportIt@woodtv.com and we may feature them online or on air. Be sure to include your name and where the image was taken.

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