Eclipse Weather: Hopefully Better Than Today!

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

26 Responses to Eclipse Weather: Hopefully Better Than Today!

  1. Garron 1/3 of a mile from the Hillsboro airport says:

    The only factors I foresee are: Upper level low, west side, or upper level low that drags in monsoonal moisture both west and east of the cascades. Also forest fires, but so far there haven’t been enough dry lightening storms to cause alarm, and none, again, so far to cause concern for viewing.

  2. High Desert Mat says:

    Where are you going to be doing the on air stuff at Mark?

  3. 48 degrees overnight here. Definitely on the chilly side for July.

    • Roland Derksen says:

      52 F here overnight, but this afternoon I’m seeing a smoke /haze layer at around 3,000 feet above sea level(viewed against the local mountains). Hopefully we won’t see that come down to ground level.

  4. umpire says:

    I should be in Bend at my sister’s place, arriving a few days early. Also planning on bringing extra food, maybe driving to Salem, then east. Madras has a weekend festival, could be gridlocked. Getting back to Portland may be the challenge. Let”s hope all these visitors don’t decide to move here!

    • High Desert Mat says:

      Most of the people coming won’t realize how dry it is here. I think the fire season will get off to a late start this year.

    • Boydo3 N. Albany says:

      We witnessed the last one on the Warm Springs Indian rez.
      Solid pre-dawn traffic on hwy 97 and that was when central Oregon was still a poe-dunk part of the world. Can’t imagine what a zoo it will be this time around!

  5. High Desert Mat says:

    And I’ll be there to see you Mark. I work Sunday up that way and have Monday off. Have fun with the gridlock!!! I’ve heard numbers somewhere in the vicinity of 250,000-500,000 extra people over here for the event. Good luck.

  6. WEATHERDAN says:

    Can’t think of a nicer Summer than this one has been so far. Not too hot or humid. Nor cool and damp. This is our Goldilocks Summer. 76 and sunny at 3:00 PM. Should about 80 today. Peace.

    • Paul D says:

      It’s tracking right around normal. imagine that 🙂

    • I agree; this has been a delightful summer so far. Day after day of mostly sunny dry weather in the 70s. Just perfect. Much like I remember the summers being in the late 80s and early 90s when I first moved to the region.

  7. Jason Hougak says:

    Got thunderstorms??? 16 day GFS showing 90’s for end of month with convection. Would love sum rain producing thunderstorms, we need sum precipitation. All that above average rainfall has quickly dried up and it’s becoming a tinderbox quickly.

  8. I plan on being in Grant County, OR (John Day area) on the 21st. Was going to play it by ear and decide where to go a day or so ahead of time, then I started seeing enough reports forecasting big crowds everywhere and decided I had to stake a claim somewhere and take my chances. Might as well go east of the mountains and maximize the odds.

    • you better plan on being there a couple days early as there are festivals between prineville and john day that should have 30,000 people…one has a couple hundred bands!… and thats on top of everyone else showing up….26 is going to be an absolute nightmare…

    • Yes, I already am planning on showing up a couple of days (or more) early. I live near Seattle, so I’m going to be coming to the area via Pendleton and US-395, avoiding 26 entirely. I wouldn’t want to drive 26 all the way to John Day at eclipse time; like you said it could well be a traffic nightmare.

  9. WEATHERDAN says:

    I will be in my backyard in South Salem hoping for a day like today. 18 of the last 27 days have been sunny at 10:00 AM. That is 67%. Which is exactly the percentage that Mark says is average. So the odds are in our favor. Currently 85 and sunny. Peace.

  10. The best case scenario is not light onshore flow, but OFFSHORE flow. Let’s root for a ‘False Autumn’ trough over the Northern Plains the previous weekend, in order to drag down a Canadian high pressure into the Northern Rockies for Sunday/Monday.

  11. kevin duling says:

    you’re going to madras mark? Are you crazy? If the population estimates are only half right there will be no way to get in or out of town. You better stock that news van full of food, water, and bathroom supplies for a week. I’m hoping this is another Y2k deal which is all hype, but the reports from Maupin are not too good with groups of 500 booking the school ball fields, etc.

  12. pappoose in scappoose says:

  13. Jason Hougak says:

    I’ll be up Mt. Jefferson between Salem and Madras. Really looking forward to a great trip.

  14. Paul D says:

    I’ll be in Nebraska on I-80 somewhere between North Platte & Kearney. Very low chance of it being blocked by clouds!!!

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