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An electromagnetic storm is an intense phenomenon where a region of space experiences a very strong electromagnetic field. This is most analogous to a rainstorm. Normal rain poses no threat, but can be incredibly dangerous in heavy amounts. The same applies to electromagnetic fields. In small amounts, electromagnetic fields will not cause noticeable disruption to electronic systems. However, in large amounts, they can cause charged particles (for example, in wires) to feel a significant force, moving them. Since wires aren't usually free to move, the flow of electrons can become extremely disrupted. This can also be extremely hazardous for delicate systems, such as those found on starships. Transporters and sensors were particularly sensitive to these disruptions. (TOS: "The Gamesters of Triskelion", "Mudd's Women"; VOY: "Tattoo")
It is possible, albeit rare, for sentient consciousness to be maintained in the magnetic patterns of electromagnetic storms. In the 19th century, a group of criminals from Ux-Mal, exiled to a moon of Mab-Bu VI, had their consciousnesses separated from their bodies. These consciousnesses lived in the storm for five centuries, surfacing twice to take over the bodies of Federation starships: the USS Essex in 2167, and the USS Enterprise-D in 2368. (TNG: "Power Play")