I remember a Ray Bradbury story where sunspots stopped all TV from working; so everybody started fixing up their houses, visiting with their neighbours and generally making life better.
As a ham radio operator the sunspot cycle and space weather in general is something that I pay attention to much more than the average person.
The topic came up on another board...and I've posted over there (just so that I don't repeat myself here) http://www.enmasse.ca/forums/viewtopic.php?t=6227
Anyway as the solar storm "hit" I heard many of my fellow ham radio operators bouncing signals off the auroral "curtain" using "low VHF" band radio. Even jumped in myself and said a quick "hello" to someone in eastern Ontario bouncing a signal off the aurora.
The next night ... tuning in to good old-fashioned AM radio, I tuned to 890 KHz. and sure enough heard "Radio Progreso" from Cuba with a very loud signal...wiping out the signal from WLS Chicago, which I normally hear on that channel at night here in Toronto.
Anyway, although I haven't read the story you speak of, if that was what Ray Bradbury wrote he'd be quite wrong scientifically. The changes in solar weather will degrade some types of radio signals (television is just another form of radio signal by the way) but will actually enhance some other types of radio signals.
I suppose that "normal" types of radio communications are disrupted by solar storms but for a ham radio operator, all the weird and wacky effects are things to "play with"...and yes it is alot of fun!
We're at the bottom of the 11 year solar cycle right now more or less with the sun being generally "quiet"...which makes this kind of solar storm a bit unusual...although not unheard of.
Solar storms of this magnitude are much more common towards the "top" of the sunspot cycle.
But, even though there is an eleven year cycle, there are changes in solar activity from day to day.
Also, since the sun is on a 28 day rotation, we may see a slight "echo" of this storm four weeks after December 14th.