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There's the potential for the northern lights to be seen across much of Minnesota Saturday night thanks to a solar flare, but much of it will depend on cloud cover across the state.

Auroral activity is expected to be at its height between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m, with the most intense peak between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Unfortunately, this could be bad news for those from the Twin Cities as clouds are expected to pass through the metro during at least some of this period.

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The National Weather Service's forecast discussion says that the best chances to see the northern lights will be over western Minnesota, as the cloud system will exit that region earlier than in the east of the state.

Looking at some of the radar models below – where the white represents clouds – the NAM 3KM shows that the clouds associated with an advancing cold front will keep the Twin Cities under cloud cover from about 6 p.m. Saturday to 4-5 a.m. Sunday.


But the HRRR model is a tad more optimistic, showing the cloud cover beginning to exit the metro and eastern Minnesota between midnight and 2 a.m., which could mean Twin Cities residents could catch some of the auroral show.


In any case, anyone living in the Twin Cities should look to drive outside the metro to get away from the light pollution, and if you head west the clouds will be done earlier.

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