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Motorists viewing northern lights causing traffic problems in Chisago County

Why is forecasting the Northern Lights so hard?
Why is forecasting the Northern Lights so hard? 01:58

CHISAGO COUNTY, Minn. — People flocking to see the northern lights have been causing issues on the road in Chisago County, according to the county sheriff.

GALLERY: WCCO viewers share their best northern lights photos

The issue has been going on since Wednesday, as motorists have been parking on the shoulder of roads, blocking lanes of traffic. Many of the parking problems have been on Stacy Trail, between Stacy and Chisago City.

Motorists in some instances have been parking in the middle of the road, the Chisago County Sheriff's Office said. 

"Find a safe place to park. Not on the roads!" the sheriff's office tweet said. "Even all the way onto the shoulder of a road is not the best option. Find a parking lot somewhere, clear from the roads to take in the views."

MORE: Forecasting atmospheric weather is tricky enough; predicting Northern Lights is that much harder

The northern lights were visible as far south as the metro on Thursday and Friday evenings. For an optimal viewing experience, people are encouraged to move far from the light pollution of higher-populated areas and have a clear view to the north.

The sun runs on an 11-year cycle, and 2025 was predicted to be the cycle's maximum for solar storms. However, 2023 has already exceeded 2025's predicted number of storms. When there's more solar storms, there's more chances for aurora borealis, which is why the frequency is increasing for viewing northern lights in Minnesota.

Note: The above video first aired on Dec. 1, 2023

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