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Aurora borealis Seattle NWS
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Chance of aurora borealis sighting in Western Washington fades

The aurora borealis in Seattle's sky in August of 2019. (National Weather Service)

While clear skies and a well-timed geomagnetic storm increased the chances of an aurora borealis sighting Monday night, those chances appear to have faded Tuesday.

This initially came about as a result of increasing geomagnetic storms, which peaked overnight Monday into Tuesday morning between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. Such an event typically occurs when charged particles from the sun head toward the Earth, causing the storm to take hold.

The NOAA measures the strength of an aurora on something known as the KP scale. For Western Washington, the KP number was strong enough late Monday night that an aurora sighting was possible, provided you were situated away from city lights with a clear view to the north.

With solar storms calming, though, we’re unlikely to get a repeat performance this week.

“The solar storm has weakened so additional sightings appear very unlikely,” the NWS said Tuesday.

Prior to this week, the last time the aurora made an appearance in Western Washington was November 2019, when similarly clear weather saw it grace the region’s night skies toward the end of the month.

Weather for the remainder of the week is expected to warm up, with temperatures touching 80 degrees in the Seattle area by Wednesday.

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