Northern Lights Forecast for Tuesday & Wednesday Nights

Photo Courtesy: @WX_Dan, Dan McKemy – Meteorologist for NWS Rapid City

Early Tuesday morning the Northern lights put on a spectacular show across most of North America and the dancing colors are expected to be back in full force again over the next two nights.

All signs show that we should have Aurora activity overnight into the early parts of Wednesday and many are calling it one of the strongest solar storms since September of 2005. The below image shows the forecast for overnight tonight, which shows strong Auroral activity as far south as Indianapolis and Annapolis.

Those who are north of the solid green line on the map above should have a good chance to see the Northern Lights tonight.

For a 30 minute forecast you can go to this site here.

Another good site to check out can be found here where it will give you a live up to the minute forecast for Auroral activity for your location!

The best times will be after sunset and before sunrise, for the most par 11pm until 4am. While the forecast for Aurora activity is good, it all depends on Mother Nature. The good news is that for the most part, we should be seeing some mostly clear skies during the early morning hours. The graphic below shows the forecasted cloud cover for 1 a.m. CDT. The numbers indicate the percentage of sky cover (the amount of the sky covered by clouds). The more blue there is, the clearer the skies will be. In this cast, most places north of I-90 should see mostly clear skies. However, some thunderstorms from North Dakota and more developing in northern Nebraska may cloud up our chances in parts of the area as well.

As we look towards Wednesday night it looks like our chances are slim to see the Northern Lights. Not because they won’t be out, but because midday thunderstorms are expected to develop and the remaining cloud cover is expected keep much of the area overcast through the overnight (pictured below). Some places could definitely see enough clearing to see the “dancing lights” but signs all point to Tuesday night/Wednesday morning being our best shot.

Either way, grab the camera and head out to a place with little light pollution (away from bigger cities) Get out of town and head somewhere rural with light sources (towns or cities) to your south. A strong full moon will cause some light pollution but it isn’t the end of the world.

If you are looking for tips on how to take pictures of the Northern Lights you can try these sites.

Alaska Photo Graphics Blog

If you do happen to get a shot of the lights send your pictures to KDLT Weather on Facebook or Twitter! We also take them by email at, enjoy!

-Brandon Spinner
Chief Meteorologist