Should you regularly check the space weather forecast like you do the weather forecast?

I recently came across the website for NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (https://www.swpc.noaa.gov/) that includes space weather forecasts (and potential on-the-ground impacts), and it got me thinking—should we regularly check the space weather forecast like we do the weather forecast?

I imagine people in certain fields (e.g., power grid operators, satellite controllers) or with certain hobbies (e.g., ham radio) already know about NOAA’s space weather forecasts.

But does it make sense for the general (prepared) public, who would most likely only be affected by the most severe space weather events, to check these forecasts daily?

Although I’m by no means an expert, from what I understand, our ability to predict space weather is quite limited, and the on-the-ground effects are even more difficult to predict. With that, I wonder if checking these forecasts frequently might provide a false sense of security.

What do you all do? Is it part of your preparedness routine?


P.S. For what it’s worth, there’s a (minor to moderate) geomagnetic storm watch from May 25–27. Those in northern parts of the U.S. might get to see some auroras.


  • Comments (16)

    • 3

      My understanding is any solar event would happen quicker than I could respond.  That is why I keep lots of items in Faraday enclosures.  Just in case.

    • 7

      Hi Mensch, personally I do follow space weather, but it’s mostly for general interest (I love everyting space-related) and less so because I am a prepper.

      I’m subscribed to the weekly Space Weather newsletter which gives me a heads up about the week ahead, and I when there is a geomagnetic storm heading our way (like the geomagnetic storm possibly hitting us this week) I just keep it in mind and share the news with my prepping community. But I don’t check forecasts daily – as you’ve said, extremely disruptive events are rare and in my situation (just as an average suburban prepper) I don’t feel the need to obsess over that more than what I already do. As a matter of fact, if I hadn’t subscribed to that newsletter because of my interest in space in the first place, I would probably not look at space weather at all.

      • 4

        That’s cool you are into space stuff! What’s your favorite space relate movie? I think mine was The Martian. Interstellar was good as well.

        If you are knowledgeable about the North Star, I’d love to see a forum post about it someday. That is so cool that such a thing exists and is so useful to navigation. Wish I knew how to find it and use it so I could be prepared if life ever went back to the stone ages after one of these solar storms.

      • 6

        I’m personally fond of Star Wars 😉 

      • 6

        Star Wars is great, The Martian too, but my favorite (broadly speaking) sci-fi is Arrival although there isn’t much space in it. Otherwise First Man and Moon are also fun.

      • 2

        I loved First Man! I enjoy stories that are based on true events where you come out learning more about a topic. 

        I don’t personally have much to say about space weather. If I see stars falling around me, then I know something bad is about to go down…

      • 3

        Here’s a decent article on how to find the North Star (Polaris): https://earthsky.org/brightest-stars/polaris-the-present-day-north-star/

        If you can find the Big Dipper, you can find Polaris.

      • 3

        Thanks for the link to SpaceWeather.com—I’ll have to check out their newsletter.

        And that makes sense being more aware of something relevant to prepping, like space weather, because of your hobby. (One of the reasons I got into prepping in the first place is because most of my pre-existing hobbies happened to be related to prepping.)

    • 6

      I used to keep up on space news and when there was an incoming solar flare, usually got a few days headsup, I would throw a few extra stuff in my trash can faraday cage. 

      These flares happen so often though that I just stopped doing it. 

      What are some space weather that can affect people down here on earth? I heard that some times there are space storms that can affect people and give them more severe sunburns in areas where the ozone is particularly thin. Is this a thing?

    • 4

      Good morning Mensch,

      Ref the 2 questions;

      1.  Does it make sense for the general (prepared) public …..;

      My view is that it has little value for the private citizen prepper. Just the basics is needed as reported by eg a local/area AM radio station or the National Weather Service’s daily and forecast 6-7 days out is more than adequate.

      2.  What do you do ? ……;

      I do not check space weather; just the local/area AM readio report and the NWS weather report out to 6-7 days. I check daily 2 ZIP code locations for trend. That’s all.  For me as a prepper, the weather report is only valuable when used in tandem with road closure reports (not a well-developed reporting program here) in case of a required evacuation by motor vehicle.

      I’ve taken the National Weather Service’s seminiar “Sky Warn” and it provided the basics as to what to follow. The class was only ~ 3-4 hours… well worth it and it was no cost to participants.

      There’s a principle in Emergency Management: “Minimize detail”. 

    • 7

      I subscribe to space weather updates because it’s relevant as an HF radio operator. I also keep an eye out for possible coronal mass ejections.

    • 5

      I wonder if space weather could affect things like cell phones, internet, and GPS. Those are all controlled by satellites up in space.

      • 4

        It can! Here is all the damage that a category G-2 geomagnetic storm (like the one heading our way this week):