April 05, 2024

Eclipse Disappointment

We are now within 72h of the Monday solar eclipse and the forecast models are in agreement.

Unfortunately, the situation I discussed in my blog on March 28th will come to pass: substantial clouds over much of the total eclipse tracks, particularly in Mexico and Texas where many are going.

As a reminder, a map showing the path of totality is shown below.  From Mazatlan to Dallas to Columbus to northern Maine.


The cloud forecast for 1800 UTC April 8 (near the time of the eclipse) from the latest U.S. GFS model run is shown below.  The European Center forecast for the same time is also displayed.  

They are nearly identical.  A band of clouds follows the zone of totality in Mexico and Texas/Oklahoma is enshrouded in clouds.  The best bet is northern Maine. It is possible there may be a few breaks/thinner spots in the cloud area, but the situation is not favorable.


Here in the Northwest, western Washington will be cloudy, but since we will only get 20% coverage of the sun anyway, it will hardly be worth it in any case.


7 comments:

  1. Thank you, Cliff. Southern Illinois, here I come.

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  2. Thanks for this invaluable report. Any idea what explains the discrepancy between this and the cloud coverage maps from many news outlets that seem to be more optimistic about cloud coverage in the southern Illinois area? Any reason to trust those? We're in southern Arkansas now and contemplating a crazy drive to Maine...

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  3. Interesting. Looking at GEOS- East, from AR to N. NY is cloud free. Seems like a great event.

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  4. I remember the eclipse of 1987 here, and the 2017 that skimmed northern Oregon. The weather wasn't favorable, but oh - I recall the excitement and the sudden but passing interest in celestial mechanics. Light and shadow drive weather year-round, orbits and tilt. It IS fascinating to see how different the eclipse paths are from one another. Totality is always a brief phenomenon. The best seat everywhere will be in front of the TV and computer, grins.

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  5. Thanks for the info.
    Sky cover in northeast Ohio (I've family there) at totality is expected to be about 40%. That's not opaque, so observers should notice a change, but likely won't see much.
    Central WA State will likely be overcast to about 40% also, and with the 20% cover of the Sun – we will be challenged to notice. Oh well.

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  6. Thank you for the explanation, I can see clearly now! ;-) https://www.hampushellekant.se/2024/03/daniel-vergara-klandras.html

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  7. The best bet isn't just northern Maine. It also looks really good for Montreal and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, with sunny skies forecast.

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