Watch CBS News

Skies over parts of far Northern California get rare treat: The aurora borealis

How auroras form -- and why California got a glimpse of them
How auroras form -- and why California got a glimpse of them 03:45

SACRAMENTO – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a Severe (G4) Geomagnetic Storm Alert for most of the northern half of the US Thursday night.

According to the National Weather Service, this meant that the Northern Lights could have possibly happened as far south as Alabama and Northern California.

Exactly how far into Northern California the aurora borealis could be seen was unclear. However, video captured by PG&E and others showed the phenomenon happening at least near Shasta Lake. 

The aurora borealis is usually only found within the arctic circle.

Scientists have been predicting that a powerful geomagnetic storm would be hitting the Earth Thursday and Friday after observing some instability in the Sun's atmosphere. 

Aside from the possibility of the aurora (which has already been seen as far south as Minnesota, according to reports Thursday night), officials are warning that widespread voltage control problems with power grids could pop up. 

Wireless communications are also threatened by such large solar storms. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.