Friday Evening: Traffic Forecast Bust, But Weather Forecast Looks Good!

8pm Friday

Here we are, sitting on the edge of a big “3 day weekend” that includes the Great American Eclipse.

First, the big question everyone seems to be wondering…WHERE IS EVERYBODY?  Friday afternoon commutes are typically bad in the Portland metro area in the summertime.  My drive in to work was the easiest I’ve seen of any Friday this summer.  In fact there were NO TRAFFIC ISSUES IN OUR VIEWING AREA TODAY.  So much for the first day of “EclipsePocalypse”.  We’ll see how Saturday (when I’m driving to Madras), Sunday, & Monday go.  But this will go down as the first TRAFFIC FORECAST BUST of 2017.  Hey, if we can have weather forecast busts, the traffic planners and officials can have busts too. But this one helped out everyone.

So we’re only 2 and a half days away now and the weather forecast looks the same

As you can see, MOST of us should have excellent viewing for the eclipse between 10:15 & 10:25am Monday morning.  There is one big concern and of course that would be the marine layer, mainly along the coastline.  Notice the cloud cover forecast from the WRF-GFS model for 11am Monday shows the clouds/fog hugging the coastline:

There is a slight chance we get morning cloud cover (mainly before 10am) from the Portland metro area north to Kelso/Longview here in the valleys, we’ll keep a close eye on that.  But with strong upper-level ridging we don’t usually see much inland penetration of the low clouds.

A 2nd minor concern is the possibility of scattered thin high clouds coming in from the northwest during eclipse time.  I’m not worried much about this for two reasons:  First, thin clouds often don’t impede the viewing much according to eclipse-chasing veterans.  And second, only a couple of our models are showing a few thin high clouds moving through anyway.

A 3rd (minor) concern is fire smoke over and east of the Cascades.  As of today I’m not real worried about that either.  First, only a small area of totality will be under any sort of thick smoke, note the midday Terra satellite image from today (click for a better view)

and most fire plumes with the big smoke output tend to form midday and into the afternoons as temperatures rise.  In fact the lack of sun will even (briefly) slow down the morning heating, maybe helping keep those fires down.  Second, thin fire smoke is no problem according to eclipse viewers I’ve had email conversations with.

Let’s summarize a few questions I’ve been asked or heard asked by viewers; some are really interesting.

  1. Who needs to wear the eclipse glasses and when?  ANYONE outside of totality needs to wear them at ALL TIMES (the entire metro area).  Anyone in totality takes them off ONLY during totality.  On at all other times.
  2. Do I need to protect my pet’s eyeballs?  No, they don’t know there is an eclipse coming and have no reason to look up.  I can tell you I’ve never seen my chickens stare at the sun, same with the dog.
  3. What’s different about the sun Monday?  Absolutely nothing, in fact the poor moon is getting the shaft on this one.  The SOLAR eclipse is really all about the moon moving in front of the sun.  The sun is no stronger or weaker compared to any other day.  You can use your eclipse glasses to stare at the sun any day if you want.
  4. Do I need to wear eclipse glasses when I watch it on TV?  No, it’s only if you’re looking at it live.  You can watch it here on FOX12
  5. Why are all these eclipse events being scheduled on a weekday? More people are off work on a weekend.  Because…the eclipse can’t be rescheduled.  It’s on a Monday.

Well that was fun.  Now for our detailed forecasts and timeline:

25 Responses to Friday Evening: Traffic Forecast Bust, But Weather Forecast Looks Good!

  1. Nahtalkin says:

    “Coyote the Trickster” is going to have fun tomorrow, look towards the sky tomorrow morning between 9 and 11;30 AM and you will see one of his great pranks pulled on the gullible Bilagáana. Yá’át’ééh abíní.

  2. Boring 550' says:

    If anything traffic has been lighter than usual. Thank you media hype!😂

  3. Looking at road cams. Where is everyone?

  4. Alohabb says:

    Traffic has been so light is crazy. And what’s not being talked about is all the money being lost due to business closing. The media has scared the people so bad that half of my offices won’t be delivering Monday , causing lost sales and revenue. Dozens of our customers are closed because their afraid they won’t be able to get around to make in home service calls. I can’t wait for this thing to be over with, for anyone who makes their living off commissions, Monday is going to be tough.

  5. Nahtalkin says:

    This whole eclipse thing is much ado about nothing, now I have a little better understanding of the long lines at Starbucks. Unfortunately a very superficial & self absorbed society we live in.

  6. lurkyloo says:

    I think that the traffic bust so far is awesome. Seems like people heeded the warnings and set out very early or very late, alleviating a lot of congestion. Still wondering what next week will look like on the roads …

  7. oregonalex (Rock Creek, 240 ft) says:

    Maybe that vermin that sold fake eclipse glasses to half the country is the reason for the light traffic. Many people likely don’t have anything to watch the eclipse with.

    I bought our glasses in May. I didn’t cheap out, bought what I thought were nice ones, with plastic frames, fitting over regular glasses. Last weekend, when the recall email came from Amazon, I tested ours using the AAS guidelines and indeed – they were not dark enough. Darn! So I spent a day driving around town, but no glasses left anywhere. Finally found them on Sunday still for sale on the Oregon State Parks web site. It said delivery was not guaranteed in time, but I took a risk. The order showed as shipped Monday. We thought our chances were good, loaded the truck Thursday to be ready to take off for Umatilla NF as soon as they arrive. Alas, the mailman has just delivered the last mail of the week and no glasses in sight [where are they shipping from – the moon?].

    I was about to start building a pinhole viewer, and then realized how pathetic this was. Driving 600 miles round trip and not even be able to view it properly! Screw it! We unloaded the truck and aborted the trip. We’ll pretend there is no eclipse. We’ll sleep in on Monday and go hiking Tuesday.
    Who needs a life changing experience anyway – our life is fine as it is :).

    • Eugene Dave says:

      You overreacted and made poor decisions. Eclipse glasses are still available if you do a tiny bit of legwork, and are very much a secondary spectacle.

      The main deal is to get your @ss into the totality zone. That’s all that really matters.

    • oregonalex (Rock Creek, 240 ft) says:

      Can you, please, tell me where the glasses are still available?
      Maybe in Eugene? They don’t seem to be available in Portland.

    • Paul D says:

      Look on Craigslist. I got screwed by the Amazon debacle and found a guy in Forest Grove selling legit glasses for $5.

    • Eugene Dave says:

      These are Portland area locations that carry eclipse glasses. I have no idea how the formatting will come out, but phone calls will lead you to the glasses.

      Best Buy
      Casey’s General Store
      Hobby Town
      Fred Meyer
      London Drugs [sold out]
      Love’s Travel Stops [sold out]
      McDonald’s (Oregon only)
      Pilot/Flying J
      Toys “R” Us

    • oregonalex (Rock Creek, 240 ft) says:

      Thanks, guys. I may still try something.

      I’ve been to most places on the retailer list this week (I found a similar list on KGW last weekend), and they all said they were sold out in all their locations and did not expect any more in.

    • lurkyloo says:

      Alex, that’s such a bummer! I was at Fred Meyer a couple of weeks ago and they had big displays of glasses. I thought, “I’ll get some next time.” Oops. Now I’m SOL as well.

      I’m envisioning a sea of discarded glasses in Oregon at about 10:45am on Monday. Hope the landfills are hungry.

    • Paul D says:

      Here’s the guy I bought from if you want to go to Forest Grove:

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

      Just a quick reply…ALL LOCATIONS LISTED BELOW ARE OUT OF ECLIPSE SUNG GLASSES EXCEPT THE ONE ON CRAIGSLIST… I can also suggest buying welders goggles as ans alternative. If you can find them, most hardware stores Lowes, Home Depot, Ace carry those,and those are absolutely safe!

  8. JERAT416 says:

    Traffic will certainly pick up and have it’s issues but I doubt it will be traffic-pocalypse.

  9. I’ll say it again: the predictions for a catastrophic traffic jam could encourage enough people to stay home that the actual traffic will be, er, slightly less severe than currently feared.

  10. I absolutely love it that so many people want to move the eclipse to the weekend so they won’t miss work!

  11. Paul D says:

    Where is everybody? Gone east already?

  12. Deb Mastrangelo says:

    Can you delete my post I just made? Too many typos. Sorry

  13. Deb Mastrangelo says:

    My mini-schnauzer does go out and look at the sun. If he sees rain, he’s right back in the house. When it’s very hot, he’ll tip-toe across the hot deck (we know to carry him to the grass) and again look up and just stare at the sky. He’s got a lot personality. 🙂 If you want to call it that. But he won’t be outside on Monday.. LOL!

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