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Chilly Afternoon; Solar Storm May Bring Northern Lights Tonight

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Solar Storm

In this handout from NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), a X5.4 solar flare, the largest in five years, erupts from the sun’s surface March 6, 2012. According to reports, particles from the flare are suppose to reach earth early March 7, possibly disrupting technology such as GPS system, satellite networks and airline flights. (Credit: NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) via Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A solar flare could cause electronic disruptions for millions of people Thursday and Friday, but it could also push the Northern Lights as far south as the Chicago area.

And CBS 2 Meteorologist John Boyle says the weather will be clear for the occasion.

CBS Boston reports the solar storm now in progress is the strongest in five years. It is made up of a massive cloud of charged particles from the sun that are now pelting the earth.

The storm started with a huge flare earlier this week and grew as it raced away from the sun, CBS Boston explained. The particles move at 4 million mph.

Experts warned that the high-energy particles could disrupt utility grids, satellite networks, GPS services and airline flights, CBS Boston reports. But CBS News reports the solar storm, will also create particularly impressive auroras, or Northern Lights, which could be seen as far south as the Great Lakes or lower.

Conditions will be on the cold side Thursday night – with a low of 28 degrees – but skies will be clear if you’re looking for the Northern Lights, Boyle reports.

As for the rest of the day Thursday, you’d be well advised not to go out in a T-shirt like you might have done on Wednesday. The high for the day is only 43 degrees, although clouds are expected to give way to sunshine as the afternoon goes on.

On Friday, skies will be sunny, but the temperature will climb only to 40. But on Saturday, the high jumps to 51 and on Sunday to 54.

By Tuesday, there will once again be no evidence whatsoever that it’s still winter, as the high climbs to 67 degrees.

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