Solar storms are random in their timing and location. Since the sun is a sphere, these storms burst out of the surface of the sun in random directions. But occasionally, the timing and direction are exactly right for a solar storm to hit Earth:
Solar storms can wreak havoc. We need better space weather forecasts
“Without a good way to anticipate these solar storms, we’re vulnerable. A big one could take out a swath of our communication systems and power grids before we even knew what hit us. A recent near miss occurred in the summer of 2012. A giant solar storm hurled a radiation-packed blob in Earth’s direction at more than 9 million kilometers per hour. The potentially debilitating burst quickly traversed the nearly 150 million kilometers toward our planet, and would have hit Earth had it come just a week earlier. Scientists learned about it after the fact, only because it struck a NASA satellite designed to watch for this kind of space weather. That 2012 storm was the most intense researchers have measured since 1859.”
There are two types of solar storms, both of which could be catastrophic. Right now there are some efforts underway to harden power grids against these storms, but there is much left to do and the hardening is expensive.
“The Doomsday Book” by Marshall Brain lays out this scenario in amazing detail and offers solutions to prevent this doomsday scenario from unfolding. You can order the book today on Amazon and other retailers.