Eclipse and weather 

Posted: 4:42 pm Monday, August 14th, 2017

By Kirk Mellish

Yes, there have been other eclipses, maybe even in your lifetime. But this one is bigger and better for North America in general and the USA in particular.

The last time a total solar eclipse was visible from the contiguous United States was on Feb. 26, 1979, when the path of totality stretched through the northwestern states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, according to NASA via al.com

The last five solar eclipses visible in the U.S. occurred on:

  • July 11, 1991
  • Feb. 26, 1979
  • July 10, 1972
  • March 7, 1970
  • July 20, 1963

The Aug. 21 eclipse – dubbed “The Great American Eclipse” – will stretch from Oregon at its start to South Carolina in the east. The states along the path of totality will experience the darkness that comes from the moon passing in front of the sun for a little more than 2-and-a-half minutes; other sites will only experience darkness for a few seconds. The mid-time of the eclipse will be around 10:15 a.m. in Corvallis, Albany and Lebanon, Oregon, ending around 2:45 p.m. in Columbia, South Carolina.

What will it look like where I live?

The upcoming solar eclipse is special since all parts of the Lower 48 states will experience at least some dimming along with a coast-to-coast total eclipse trajectory. However, according to NASA, a location needs at least 90 percent coverage to notice any darkening at all. Even 99 percent coverage of the sun only provides the same level of darkness you’d typically see at twilight. Outside of that narrow band, it may be akin to a cloud passing by the sun on a sunny day.

Now if you miss this Aug. 21 eclipse, you will have to wait a while to see another one in the U.S. The next annular solar eclipse that can be seen in the continental United States will be on Oct. 14, 2023, which will be visible from Northern California to Florida.

After that the next solar eclipse will take place April 8, 2024, which will track northeast from Texas to Maine and cross the path of the 2017 eclipse near Carbondale, Illinois.

Since 1503, there have been 15 total solar eclipse paths that have crossed the path of the August 2017 eclipse, NASA noted.

Calculations show that it will take about 1000 years for every geographic location in the Lower-48 to be able to view a total solar eclipse.

There is at least some chance a hurricane will be near the path of totality in the Atlantic! Has not happened in modern times.

By the way, the eclipse will in most cases impact the weather too negligibly to be noticed aside from sophisticated instrumentation.

Also, bear in mind that the eclipse, even with 94-99% coverage of moon over sun in metro Atlanta, it will NOT get dark and scary with dragons and tombstones rising 🙂

It will be like a cloud covering the sun on an otherwise clear day!

MONDAY AUGUST 21 FORECAST SURFACE WEATHER CHART:

Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 5.52.33 AM

Will weather allow us to see it?

Here is the cloud cover output from two long-range Global models, at this distance though I would not put too much faith in SPECIFIC county clouds, but sadly it does point to what we’ve experienced much of this summer:

gfs_total_cloud_lower48_36

ecmwf_tcloud_lower48_28

Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 6.47.21 AM

Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 6.46.03 AM

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Georgia Eclipse Animation