As we continue to monitor the activity associated with sunspot #1302, the situation seems to be escalating somewhat. #1302 has expanded in size and complexity and has produced another M7 class flare with an associated massive CME that did brush the earth with a significant “bump”. #1302 is now more “earth directed” which is not good news.
NOAA has privately notified power suppliers to do what they can to protect their assets, which may include doing a “voluntary shutdown” if necessary. NOAA’s Space Weather Center issued this warning yesterday.
SPACE WEATHER ADVISORY BULLETIN #11- 4
2011 September 26 at 03:00 p.m. MDT (2011 September 26 2100 UTC)
**** EARLY AUTUMN GEOMAGNETIC STORM ****
A Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) that erupted from NOAA Active Region 1302 on Saturday September 24 in conjunction with an M7 strength solar flare, arrived this morning at 1237 UT (8:37am Eastern Time). It has kicked off moderate (G2) geomagnetic storms for low latitudes, but high latitudes are seeing severe (G4) levels of activity. Aurora watchers in Asia and Europe are most favorably positioned for this event, though it may persist long enough for viewers in North America. The bulk of the CME missed the Earth, meaning the storm intensity and duration are less than what they would have been in the case of a direct hit. Region 1302 remains capable of producing more activity and will be in a favorable position for that activity to have impacts on Earth for the next 3-5 days.
In addition to the concern over mass power outages related to an incoming CME, we stated that our concern was related to the geomagnetic pressure precipitating large earthquakes as was the case in Japan. Our specific concern was the Canary Islands because of the potential for a large landslide into the Atlantic creating a potential 25 meter tsunami hitting the Eastern Seaboard. We have to now elevate that concern given the fact there have been a massive increase of small “swarming quakes” that have started in the Canary Islands on the 27th. 53 quakes in 24 hours, and right where we DON”T want to see them. The chart below shows an example of the magnitude and frequency they are “firing off”.
In addition, these “swarms” are located in the worst position. The following Google map shows the location of the quakes. The “Line” I drew on the map outlines the over 10.4 mile mountain front that is unstable and could slide into the ocean.
Therefore based on these actual events, we keep the warning in effect, and if anything, the warning concern is elevated from the previous update. More as it develops and we still have power.