Eclipse Weather: Hopefully Better Than Today!

July 13, 2017

11pm Thursday

There will be tremendous pressure on meteorologists in August to produce a sunny forecast on a certain day about 5 weeks from now.  Will it be sunny across the Pacific Northwest at 10am on Monday August 21st?  Of course that’s the date/time for the big solar eclipse.

We don’t know about the weather or cloud cover this far ahead of time of course;  we won’t start seeing glimpses of what might happen until at least 7-10 days ahead of time.

But we CAN go back in time and see what has happened historically.    Take a look at NOAA’s work on historical cloud cover over the region on that date:

Eclipse Cloud Climatology 3

The best place to be based on past weather is east of the Cascades.  The worst is along the coastline.

The WORST CASE SCENARIO for the eclipse would be a wet upper-level low sitting over the Pacific Northwest giving almost all of us mostly cloudy or cloudy skies.   The BEST CASE SCENARIO would be tomorrow’s weather…a thin marine layer that gives mostly or all sunny skies to the entire region, including the coastline.  Neither scenario is very likely.  More likely is some sort of cloud cover SOMEWHERE west of the Cascade crest.  Look at what happened today with a thick marine layer!  9am satellite pic:

Satellite GOES16 Vis Only

If the eclipse was today, almost no one west of the Cascades below 4,000′ would have seen it!  But everyone in the Cascades and east of the mountains would have had a cloud-free view.

It all depends on what kind of weather pattern we are in, but again, the best chance for clear sky is over and east of the Cascades.  I’ll be stationed both Sunday night and Monday morning/midday in Madras doing live reports on FOX12.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen