ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Strong thunderstorms are one thing but a recent study by insurance giant Lloyd's of London suggests the potential exists for a solar storm that could have far reaching and potentially catastrophic consequences.
The sun is nearing the peak of a 9-to14 year active cycle that sends solar eneggy from huge solar storms flying across space. When the charged particles from those storms reach earth they can produce beautifull auroral activity. But when these geomagnetic storms are strong enough they can also induce electrical currents that can overwhelm power lines, transformers and electrical grids.
That's the concern raised by Lloyd's of London.
The strongest geomagnetic storm ever recorded occured in 1859 between August 28 and September 2. It was powerfull enough to knock out telegraph lines across North American, Europe, Asia and Australia.
If a storm of the same magnitude were to occur today, just in the U.S., between 20 million and 40 million people could lose power and some might be without it for 6 months to as long as a year.
Read the 'Solar Storm Risk to the North American Electrical Grid' by visiting Lloyd's of London online.