(meteorobs) Eclipse Weather Prospects

Skywayinc at aol.com Skywayinc at aol.com
Wed Oct 27 12:40:57 EDT 2004


The weather prospects for tonight's lunar eclipse looks pretty good if you 
live in the U.S. East Coast, the upper Ohio Valley and Great Lakes region.  
Elsewhere, the weather can be described as "iffy" at best.  

Chiefly a large ridge of high pressure, extending southward from central 
Quebec, Canada will dominate the weather in the East.  This should bring generally 
fair skies for eclipse watchers, although localized effects such as low 
clouds and patches of fog could adversely affect some localities.

In the Greater New York area, expect a broken-to-scattered cloud cover during 
the eclipse.  Noticeably clearer and drier air will be pushing down from the 
Albany area and points north and east . . . but will not likely fully arrive 
until after midnight.

In the Boston area, the weather should improve from scattered clouds-to-clear 
skies during the eclipse.  Just north of Boston, across central and northern 
New England, skies will be "severe clear." ( ! ) 

In the Washington area, the situation will be basically the same as New York: 
Broken to occasionally scattered cloud cover.  Those in the DC area might 
improve their chances by heading to the southwest (into northern Virginia) where 
somewhat drier/clearer air will reside.

In Chicago, clear to scattered cloudiness may be expected.  However . . . 
this comes with a disclaimer . . . a layer of low-level moisture could translate 
into localized low stratus clouds by later in the night.  Chicagoans could 
improve their chances by heading to the southeast (into northwestern Indiana) 
into somewhat drier/clearer air.

Interestingly, just a couple of days ago, eclipse weather prospects for the 
upper Ohio valley and Great Lakes looked grim, but the expected clouds and 
showers are shifting eastward faster than had been originally anticipated.  Clouds 
over the Northeast US during the daylight hours of Wednesday are expected to 
begin moving out by eclipse time. 

Farther to the south and west, down into the Tennessee and Mississippi 
Valleys, the cloud cover becomes more extensive and there may even be some 
precipitation in the form of showers and thunderstorms.  This will be especially true 
across southwest Virginia, western sections of the Carolinas, northern Georgia 
and eastern Tennessee.

A greater threat of wet weather, which should pretty much eclipse the 
eclipse, will stretch north-to-south across the Great Plains from the Dakotas and 
Minnesota, south to Texas.  Over parts of the southern and central Plains, a few 
thunderstorms could develop producing gusty winds and hail. 

In St. Louis, where, for the first time, a World Series game will be played 
under a totally eclipsed Moon, considerable cloudiness is expected along with a 
possible shower or two.  Still . . . local sky watchers and baseball fans can 
hope for a fortuitous hole in the clouds that might pass over the Moon during 
the game and the eclipse.

There should be some good breaks in the cloud cover, allowing for some views 
of the Moon over parts of the northern and central Rocky Mountain States.  
However, across the southern Rockies, as well as over most of the western United 
States, an unusually strong weather disturbance from the Pacific will spell 
mainly cloudy and wet weather. Rain and showers are expected to fall over 
southern California, much of Nevada, Utah, southern portions of Oregon, Idaho as 
well as most of Arizona.  The highest elevations could even see snow.  Over parts 
of southern and central California, some thunderstorm activity is possible.

For more specific forecasts, go to http://www.erh.noaa.gov/box/nwsoffices.htm
(courtesy of the National Weather Service Forecast Office, in Taunton, 
Massachusetts).  When you click on a National Weather Service Forecast Office, you 
can obtain local weather information for your area.

-- joe rao
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