(Reuters) U.S. weather has been lousy this year, with droughts, heat and killer storms. But a solar superstorm could be far worse.
A monster blast of geomagnetic particles from the sun could destroy 300 or more of the 2,100 high-voltage transformers that are the backbone of the U.S. electric grid, according to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Even a few hundred destroyed transformers could disable the entire interconnected system.
There is impetus for a group of federal agencies to look for ways to prepare for such a storm this year as the sun moves into an active period called solar maximum, expected to peak in 2013.