Solar flares are strong geomagnetic storms produced by the sun.  We have  been experiencing small solar flares, but nothing powerful enough to disrupt life as we know it.  The 1859 blast was the largest recorded solar storm  and was named the Carrington Event after a British astronomer.  During this storm people reported seeing the northern lights as far away as Cuba.  Sparks flew on US telegraph machines, some even causing fires. 

Solar storm(88968)Credit:

The sun's solar cycle peaks in 2012 and scientists warn it could cause powerful storms. If a solar flare of this nature were to hit today, it would cause major chaos.  It would greatly affect GPS and satellites.  We rely heavily in the United States on satellite.  Each time you buy something with a credit or debit card that transaction takes place via satellite.  It could also affect power, especially in the eastern US.  Large cities could be without power for weeks or even months.  Cell phone service, radio, television, all form of communication could be affected.  That kind of outage for a length of time could cause a financial crisis in America.  Without power and satellites the banking system would be down, you may not be able to pump gas at stations, grocery stores would be cleared quickly of food, the stock exchange would go as we know it would change dramatically.  NASA updated their website to show that there was a M6.3 eruption on March the 8, 2012, and is predicted to reach the earth early on March 11th.  Some scientists believe that solar storms are not harmful to people, and only affects technology.  Others say that solar flares affect weather patterns and increase risk of earthquakes or extreme weather.  A super strong storm could even potentially affect transportation.  However, most scientists do not believe the sun is capable of producing life threatening flares, with power disruptions being the worst that could happen.

A NASA scientist recently stated in an article that solar flares will increasingly continue until 2014, and are likely to get worse.  Forecasters have said that the season is just getting started and that the sun is entering into its most active period.   They predict that the last half of 2013 will be the worst.  Solar flares are ten million times more powerful than a volcano eruption.   The current increase is activity is normal due to the cycle of the sun.  Many people believe that solar flares are a hoax to cover up for a false flag event in the near future. 

According to weather forecasters, most storms pass within a couple of hours and are so small that no one even notices the event.  With current technology forecasters predict that when solar flares occur there is approximately 20 hours before it will reach earth.  If believed to be a major event, power companies can prepare by going offline to protect transformers.  You can make preparations by stocking up on food and water supplies, which is not a bad idea in case of any emergency.