Cloud cover for the Great American Eclipse on August 21st

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The first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in the United States since 1918 is just days away, and everyone is excited to see this natural spectacle. Of course, the weather is going to play a huge role. Across the country, meteorologists like us here at WHAS11 Will study charts and models for days to estimate the amount of cloud cover that could affect the viewing of this total eclipse.

Here's the bottom line. Looking back at historical weather patterns for mid-August, cloud cover would not significantly affect viewing of an eclipse 60% of the time. However, there are, more often than not, at least some clouds in the sky on any given August 21st. In other words, we can expect some clouds but there is a good chance that the eclipse will be viewable to a large degree. In fact, August is typically one of our sunnier months in Kentucky. 

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Let's break this down further. Starting in Louisville, here is a chart of all of the different types of cloud cover that we have seen on August 21st. Notice that the piece of the pie for completely cloudy days is really small: we're talking 5%. So that's some good news. But here's the problem. It's also hardly ever completely clear on August 21st. Most of the time there are some clouds in the sky.

It's a similar story for Hopkinsville where totality can be seen during this eclipse. While completely cloudy and completely clear days are rare on past August 21sts, you can expect a mix of sun and clouds in most years. Again, you may not get to see the eclipse from start to finish, but we would at least get to see a large chunk of it.

If you don't mind traveling, and I mean really traveling, the two places where you will have the highest chance of complete sunshine for the eclipse are way out west. Our friends in Pendleton Oregon and grand island Nebraska typically have the sunniest weather in mid-August. We will start giving you exact forecasts for the total eclipse about a week before the event. 


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