X-class solar flare eruptions put a temporary halt on emergency responders who were carrying out disaster response and rescue missions from the aftermath of hurricane Ian.
On Sunday, October 2, Hurricane Ian affected regions in the USA suffered a temporary setback as the Sun blasted powerful X-class solar flares in the direction of the Earth. The solar flare charge disrupted the communication systems and rendered the various disaster response and rescue missions useless for a short period of time. This timing proved to be extremely critical as the hurricane has caused massive damage to life and property and the emergency services were aiming to save the victims, who are fighting between life and death, as soon as possible.
But the wrath of the Sun came as a double whammy to the people of Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina, which are the worst affected regions in the USA. According to a report by Space.com, “The solar flare, a powerful X1 (the mildest form of the strongest category of flares) erupted from the sun on Sunday at 3:53 p.m. EDT (1953 GMT) and peaked about 30 minutes later. Since solar flares travel at the speed of light, the burst of electromagnetic radiation caused an immediate radio blackout up to an hour long on the sun-facing side of the planet”. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the entire USA fell under the effect of this radio blackout.
Massive solar flare attack affects emergency services in Hurricane Ian affected region
NOAA has classified the radio blackout from the solar flare as the strong R3 category. This directly affected 25 MHz radio channels which were being used to conduct rescue missions in an area where the hurricane knocked down all mobile network towers. It also disrupted GPS systems and made them less accurate, affecting the ability of emergency responders in finding out the correct location of victims.
The solar flare erupted in the sunspot AR3110. The sunspot has dissipated now. However, an even more powerful sunspot called AR3112 has emerged in its position and it is believed that it can cause far stronger solar flares. Further, with solar winds picking up due to a couple of coronal mass ejections (CME) releasing in space on October 3, more atmospheric disruptions are expected to happen this week.