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NOAA: Cloud cover and the upcoming eclipse

If you follow the news at all, you are aware of the solar eclipse that will be viewed across the US, including a path of totality that stretches from coastal Oregon to South Carolina.  But it’s summer, and you might wonder if clouds will obscure the view.

Just in time, NOAA has produced a cloud cover climatology map which shows what your chances of seeing the eclipse are. For example, here in Athens GA we have about a 75 percent chance of seeing it, since we get quite a bit of sunshine in the summer months interspersed with thunderstorms or other clouds.  Other areas such as the Appalachian Mountains might have less of a chance because clouds are more frequent there.  With breaks in the clouds that are typical of summertime cumulus clouds, I think a lot of people will get at least intermittent views of the eclipse.  Of course, even with total cloud cover the amount of sunlight coming in is going to be drastically reduced, and it is going to get dark, especially near totality.  You can find the interactive cloud map here.

This blog post from Dr. Marshall Shepherd of UGA also addresses some myths about viewing the eclipse here.

The darker the dot, the greater the chance for cloudiness at the hour of peak viewing during the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. Dots represent automated weather stations that reported the cloudiness data and show the 10-year cloudiness average for August 21, 2001–2010. Map developed by CICS-NC in cooperation with NOAA NCEI, Deborah Riddle.