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Good Chance Tonight of Northern Lights Along Washington Coast, Edges of N. Oregon Coast

Published 07/23/22 at 5:45 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Good Chance of Northern Lights Along Washington Coast, Edges of N. Oregon Coast

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(Portland, Oregon) – Chances are pretty decent tonight (Saturday) to catch the Aurora Borealis on the northern edges of Oregon and throughout Washington State, even some parts of the extreme north Oregon coast and much of the Washington coast. (Above, courtesy Spokane office of National Weather Service: northern lights in Spokane Friday night)

A G1 (minor) geomagnetic storm has been bombarding the Earth on and off since Thursday, resulting in some spectacular showings of the Northern Lights. This includes the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Spokane snapping one truly outstanding shot there.

The NWS office in Portland told Oregon Coast Beach Connection the Northern Lights could well be visible starting at 9 p.m. and going through about midnight. The farthest south it could be seen would be right along the edges of the Oregon / Washington border. This would leave Gearhart or northward as the most likely spots on the north Oregon coast, but it could include Cannon Beach, Manzanita and Rockaway Beach.

The Portland NWS office tweeted earlier today that clouds are starting to form around Portland, and suggested you find areas without clouds and away from city lights.

See Oregon Coast Weather - Washington Coast Weather

Clouds are what will make this difficult if not impossible for even much of the south Washington coast, with places like Westport, Long Beach and Astoria forecast with mostly cloudy skies tonight. However, north of Ocean Shores skies begin to clear a bit more, with the northern Washington coastline seeing mostly clear skies tonight during the hours where the Aurora would be showing up. Patchy fog starts later in the wee morning hours.

The Space Weather section of the NWS and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) site said the geomagnetic storm came from a coronal mass ejection (CME) detected on the sun on July 21.

It was known as a C5.6 solar flare eruption, that came from the Sun's Active Region 3060, which then produced a faint but full halo CME.

According to SpaceWeatherLive.com:

“C-class solar flares are minor solar flares that have little to no effect on Earth. Only C-class solar flares which are long in duration might produce a coronal mass ejection but they are usually slow, weak and rarely cause a significant geomagnetic disturbance here on Earth.”

NOAA's Space Weather section said this CME is likely to cause some minor radio disruption in some areas.

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Below: Aurora Borealis in the Coast Range, Oregon Coast Beach Connection



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