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Viewing Conditions: Northern Lights Display Continues for US Thursday

By Jillian MacMath, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
January 9, 2014; 5:06 AM ET
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For those who missed the first northern lights display of 2014 in the United States early Thursday morning, another opportunity is on the way tonight.

A strong, Earth-facing coronal mass ejection, or CME, occurred Tuesday which set the stage for a bright display across the northern half of the U.S., according to Expert Meteorologist Mark Paquette.

The more directly a flare faces the Earth, the better the chances are for a strong aurora to be visible.

While the show peaked early Thursday morning, the second round is expected to be a strong one as well. Cloud cover tonight threatens to put a damper on the visibility for many, however.

The far Northeast should provide mostly clear skies throughout the event.

Northern Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont are expected to have good conditions, without an obscuring cloud cover.

Though anyone in the suburbs of Boston, New York City, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., or Philadelphia has a chance at seeing the show, conditions will deteriorate farther south and west.

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Forecast Temperature Maps

On the West Coast, cloudy skies are most threatening for those in Washington, Oregon, Northern California and parts of Idaho.

In the Northern Plains, most of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and northern Kansas will miss out.

Skygazers will also struggle to see through the clouds from northern Kansas to far western Pennsylvania.

Despite visibility issues, the weather is in favor of those hoping to get outside, as dangerously low temperatures are finally retreating from the Plains to the Northeast.

Though the aurora may be visible in the entire northern half of the United States, the map reflects conditions due to cloud cover.

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