Could the total solar eclipse set for Monday be rained out? What will the weather be like, anyway? What happens if it’s cloudy? A lot of forecast questions are lingering ahead of next week’s major solar event.
To answer a few of them, we’ll start by explaining that what you see will largely depend on the clouds. If it’s a clear day, that’s ideal. You’ll see totality or the partial solar eclipse, depending on where you are, without any problem.
But if it’s cloudy and you’ve traveled for the total solar eclipse, prepare for disappointment.
We’ll explain how a few situations would pan out, as explained by meteorologist Paul Gross:
If it’s cloudy and you’re trying to view the partial eclipse: You won’t notice much difference — maybe just a little bit of dimming, Gross said.
If it’s cloudy and you’re attempting to see totality: It will just get dark out. You won’t see the sun eclipsed, or the sun’s corona. “This would be looked at as a failure,” Gross said.
If it’s a clear day, regardless of your location: This is what we’re rooting for. “Basically, to be able to see the sun eclipsed by the moon, it has to be clear out,” Gross said. “You need an unobstructed view.”
Remember, the exact weather will depend on your specific location, as the path of totality is about 70 miles wide and runs from Oregon to South Carolina, and the rest of the country will experience at least a partial eclipse. Meaning, it’s tricky to just give a country-wide forecast in a few paragraphs.
The forecast gets more and more accurate as the date draws closer.
Some models started looking at the weather very far in advance, but Gross warned, those models often change drastically over time.
“Models give us weather patterns,” he said. “They don’t say ‘Partly cloudy, high of 82.’ You have to discern what the weather will be.”
Still, scientists and amateur astronomers have been using NASA data to plan their eclipse trips for years. Last week, we showed you several maps predicting the states that would see clear skies during Monday’s solar eclipse.
Stay with News4Jax for your local forecast.
Are you traveling for the eclipse, or watching it locally? Let us know in the comments.