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Space weather

Forget raining stars and astronauts, space weather is an actual thing - a natural phenomenon caused by the sun. There are three main types of space weather:

  • Solar flares which reach earth within a few hours and can cause radio blackouts
  • Solar energetic particles which travel somewhat slower and cause solar radiation storms
  • Coronal mass ejections (CME) which take up to four days to reach Earth and cause geomagnetic storms.

Consequences

Space weather can affect satellites and navigation systems but can also cause temporary electricity blackouts, which is what you need to be prepared for.

What can you do?

  • Keep power company phone numbers handy, call 105 or 0800 31 63 105 (free to call from a landline or mobile phone) if you lose power
  • Sign up to the Priority Services Register if you or a family member/neighbour needs extra support during a power cut
  • Keep a torch with spare batteries
  • Take care if using candles
  • Keep a phone with a cord, as cordless phones don’t work in a power cut
  • It’s especially important if you are unwell, less mobile or very young to keep warm. Dress with layers, a hat and gloves and have blankets to hand, so you can keep warm until the power is back on. You can also reduce the heat loss by closing doors on unused rooms and closing your curtains.
  • A portable power charger for your mobile phone can be useful to have charged ready to use.

 

Other useful information about space weather and advice on power cuts