Solar Eclipse Cloud Coverage Predictions from Climatology

  • Aug 16, 2017

Solar Eclipse Cloud Coverage 

As the solar eclipse approaches, many are wondering if they will get a good view of the celestial event. Plan all you want, but the weather is up to Mother Nature.
The solar eclipse will begin sliding across the U.S. on August 21, 2017 at 10:15 a.m. PDT (1:15 p.m. EDT) in Oregon before ending its journey across the nation in South Carolina at 2:45 p.m. EDT. The total eclipse should last about 2 minutes and 40 seconds.
Along its path, only a select few will be able to witness the eclipse while many just outside the main path will witness a partial eclipse. The actual cloud cover will depend on the weather on and around the day of the eclipse and the climatology reports give us a good idea of where the best view will be.

Viewing Best Bets

As the solar eclipse begins its journey across the nation at 10:15 a.m. PDT (1:15 p.m. EDT) in the Pacific Northwest, those in McMinnville and Salem, Ore., will have the best chance for a clear view, while the sky in Newport, Ore., is likely to be mostly covered by clouds.

If you have hotel reservations along the path of totality in Idaho, Wyoming and Nebraska, you are in luck! As the eclipse slips eastward between 11:32 a.m. and 12:02 p.m. MDT (1:32 p.m. and 2:02 p.m. EDT), Idaho Falls, Idaho, Casper, Wyo., as well as Alliance and Lincoln, Neb., have the best chance for an almost perfectly clear sky. According to climatological reports, 80 to 90 percent of the sky will be free of cloud cover!

By 1:07 p.m. CDT (2:07 p.m. EDT), the eclipse will reach the Kansas City, Mo., area where clouds will dominate about half of the sky. Jefferson City and Chesterfield, Mo., have the clearest shot when viewing the eclipse as records have shown the sky to be on the partly sunny side.

Further east, the solar eclipse will be seen in Illinois and Kentucky between 1:19 p.m. and 1:27 p.m. CDT (2:19 p.m. and 2:27 p.m. EDT). Mostly sunny skies are likely to occur for those along the eclipse path in Carbondale, Ill., and Paducah and Bowling Green, Ky.

Residents awaiting the celestial event in Nashville, Tenn., won’t be very pleased with the past climatological reports. The sky is likely to be more than 50 percent covered by clouds on August 21 around 1:27 p.m. CDT (2:27 p.m. EDT) when the eclipse makes its way south.

The solar eclipse will end its trek across the U.S. in South Carolina between 2:37 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. EDT where residents in Clemson and Greer will have the most luck in viewing the event. Those in Columbia and Charleston, S.C., may want to make their way northwest for a clearer view of the total eclipse.

Protect Your Eyes

Regardless of what the cloud coverage is like, you still need to protect your eyes. Remember, when viewing the solar eclipse use protective eyewear designated for use during an eclipse. Your usual sunglasses will not do the trick. Solar eclipse viewing glasses are available online. The intensity of the sunlight can cause permanent damage to the naked eye. To learn more about the solar eclipse, visit our solar eclipse central.