Confidence Growing in Good Eclipse Viewing For Most of Us

6pm Wednesday

We’re only 5.5 days away from the Great American Eclipse and things are looking good!  It appears MOST of us in the zone of totality, where 2 minutes of darkness will pass overhead, will have a clear view of the big event.  And if we forget about the eclipse for a moment…the weather itself looks GREAT across the region now through Tuesday.  Are you camping?  You’re in good shape…no need to worry about rain anywhere unless you get some drizzle along the coast.   Aren’t you glad we didn’t tell you it was going to be a rainy/cloudy/cool eclipse with snow up on Mt. Hood?  I just heard today that some of you received an alert saying that on your phones last week!

Over the past 3 days models have been advertising upper-level ridging of high pressure over our region later Sunday through early Tuesday.  Of course the eclipse falls right in the middle of that time period.  You can see the “ridge” in the upper-level flow over us Monday morning.  The opposite would be a dip in the flow.

In this case that means a warmer than normal atmosphere over us Monday.  It also means a lot of sinking motion overhead which warms/dries the airmass.  Thus little or no cloud cover overhead.  The ONE issue of course is the cool layer of marine air west of the Cascades.  Take a look at the WRF-GFS model depiction of that marine layer (green areas) Saturday afternoon (right side) to Wednesday afternoon (left side).  You can see a thin marine layer Sunday through Tuesday, then it thickens quite a bit Wednesday.  Those first three days it’s no thicker than 2,000′, which means you don’t have to worry about those low clouds if your viewing location is above that elevation.

Now check out Newport:

That’s pretty clear-cut, there is a high risk for morning/midday clouds right along the coastline in this pattern.  As we’ve been telling you for many months, planning to view the eclipse at the Coast is quite risky.  Two different models show a similar setup for low clouds Monday morning; likely at the coastline and just a possibility in the central Willamette Valley.  Note the ECMWF shows some intrusion into the Portland area but not down into the valley.  And you can see how the coastline is a bit iffy.

To wrap it all up, here are the forecasts we are using on-air tonight…

 

9 Responses to Confidence Growing in Good Eclipse Viewing For Most of Us

  1. I think the crowds and traffic won’t be as bad as they’re predicting them to be. Weeks of warnings about “the worst traffic jam in state history” could definitely discourage people who would otherwise drive here from out of state.

  2. Jg (Salmon Creek) says:

    Mark, thought I heard you say the other night we could take glasses off during totality. But just to clarify, if we are in the Portland/Vancouver area, we are supposed to keep them on since we don’t actually get 100% totality. Correct? Maybe you said that in other broadcasts but may be worth repeating or clarifying in case viewers north like me didn’t catch it!

  3. Paul D says:

    I like the “fill in the blank” 7-day forecast 🙂

    What temperatures do you want? Fill them in 🙂

  4. Paul D says:

    The mess already started yesterday near Prineville. I’ll stay at home and be satisfied with 99.4%.

  5. W7ENK says:

    Hoping to avoid all the traffic by slipping out at midnight. I’m not going anywhere near Madras, Prineville, Bend/Redmond areas, nor am I touching Hwy 26 or 97.

    Fingers crossed I don’t hit any delays!!

    • gidrons says:

      I’ve been intermittently checking tripcheck.com and the roads are mostly okay. I just heard from a friend who made it from Portland to Lake Billy Chinook in 3 hours.

  6. Dean Suhr says:

    Thanks Mark … I won’t say where I am going and how I’m going to get there for fear of attracting even more traffic than the absurd amounts I am sure we will find. But it will be wonderful!

    I think we need to be careful in terms of general messaging to do two things:
    1) Always remind folks that they must have special eclipse glasses on… except for those brief seconds of totality if you are in the totality zone. (I know you and KPTV are doing this but I wanted it in this post too!)
    2) Be clear that 2 minutes of totality is the center of the totality band. If you get as far south as Woodburn you’ll still get a glorious 1m 16sec, but in Aurora it’s only 30 seconds.

    A great resource … click on the map and you get exact times and duration. https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/interactive_map/index.html?zoom=1

    Loved the podcast … https://nwweatherpodcast.wordpress.com/2017/08/15/episode-43-oregons-total-solar-eclipse-preview/

    Cheers!

  7. gidrons says:

    Yeehaw!

  8. Paul D says:

    Woot!

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