Any hope for seeing the Northern Lights in the FLX Friday Night?

finger lakes weather forecast friday may 10 2024 evening satellite imagery northern lights
Thick clouds blanket most of the FLX early Friday evening, but there maybe, just maybe, will be enough clearing after midnight for a show in the sky. 

Northern Lights in the Finger Lakes?

Our planet is currently being bombarded by a “G5- Extreme” solar storm event, which will result in an expansive display of the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights.

However, after a dreary day of rain and clouds, is there any hope for seeing them here in the Finger Lakes?

Actually, maybe. For some.

Skies over Western New York are actually already clear, and the latest high-res modeling shows some of that clearing spilling into the Finger Lakes overnight.

The further west, the better the chances for clear skies.

However, this will probably not start to take hold until after midnight. The closer we get to dawn, the more clearing we should see.

While maybe not best for a full night’s sleep, the most intense portion of the solar storm is expected to be between 2-4 am, based on some NOAA projections I have seen. This actually coincides fairly well with the modeled clearing.

As an added bonus, the moon will not rise until after 5 AM as just a tiny sliver, with the new moon occurring just 2 days ago. Natural light pollution will be a non-factor.

Now, a couple of need-to-know caveats to consider before setting your alarms for the middle of the night:

  1. Models struggle with cloud cover, especially when it comes to clouds breaking up and giving way to clearing skies. The good news is that there is already clearing nearby, a fact which supports the models in this case.
  2. Forecasting the northern lights is way harder and less reliable than almost anything in the weather. I am certainly no expert here, and am just passing along the information I am seeing so far. There have been many times where hopeful events fizzle away to nothing. But, good news here too… this event is already ongoing, it is already strong, and is already (from what I can tell) unlike any event Earth has seen since 2005.

Happy Aurora Hunting!

Follow Meteorologist Drew Montreuil:
Meteorologist Drew Montreuil has been forecasting the weather in the Finger Lakes region since 2006 and has degrees in meteorology from SUNY Oswego (B.S. with Honors) and Cornell (M.S.). Drew and his wife have four young boys. When not working or playing with the boys, he is probably out for a run through the countryside.

2 Responses

  1. Karen Merritt
    | Reply

    I woke up this morning to my FB feed full of pictures of the lights! One friend said that it didn’t look like much until she took the pictures and looked at her camera. Apparently the camera was better at detecting the colors than the naked eye. Also, I’m up by Lake Ontario. I heard people were camping out on the shoreline!

  2. Laura Stenzler
    | Reply

    Thanks for posting this!!

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