Rare solar storm to hit 2012 London Olympics

London: A powerful solar storm could badly hit the 2012 London Olympics extravaganza, the Met department has warned.

The severe space storm could devastate communication satellites and cause power failure across England and could hit the Games hard, the Daily Mail reported.

"Extreme space weather events typically occur at the solar maximum, which itself follows a roughly 11-year cycle," weather experts told the British House of Commons science and technology committee.

"The next solar maximum is expected around 2012-13, potentially coinciding with the London Olympic Games," they said on the event to be held here from July 27 to August 12.

Previous incidents of solar activity playing havoc include those in Quebec, Canada that happened in 1989 and in Sweden in 2003 when power networks and flights were affected.

The most powerful solar storm to ever attack the earth was in 1859 Carrington event which led to telegraph systems failing across North America and Europe.

The Met office has warned that if such an attack were to happen today, it would adversely affect communications systems, earth observation facilities and position navigation and timing services including Global Positioning System.

The weather officials said, "This would have a severe impact upon global and UK monetary systems which are primarily composed of electronic accounts and assets and rely on accurate timings from GPS to synchronise trades."

The Government Office for Science and the Cabinet Office has said that such threats now form a part of the National Risk Assessment policy to better combat them.

A spokeswoman of the London Olympics said, "We are working with our partners and stakeholders to ensure that contingency plans are in place for all eventualities."