I've been hearing about this for decades... and thus far nothing has happened. I've even read about solar flares destroying satellites... but I've never dropped a call or lost signal to my television due to a solar flare.
I think it's a conspiracy to scare us.
While I don't get to indepth with Space Weather, I do have enough understanding of it to know that if a solar storm as strong as what happened 160 years ago where to occur, it would probably shut down all the satellites in our sky. A good sized solar flare already can screw our GPS up by quite a bit, and inhibit radio communications. Think of what would happen if a REALLY BAD one where to flare up.
There is no real way to forecast solar storms. We can get a general "feel" for when increased activity is about to occur, but it's really no more reliable then trying to tell with any certainty when the fualt line under San Fran is gonna blow.
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