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    Sky Conditions for Tonight's "Supermoon"

    By By Brian Edwards, Meteorologist
    March 21, 2011, 4:07:41 AM EDT

    Viewing conditions for tonight's "supermoon" will be excellent across the eastern third of the country, while clouds and precipitation will make viewing difficult across much of the West and the northern Plains.

    A "supermoon" occurs when a new or full moon is at or near (within 90 percent of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit. This is the definition provided by Astrologer Richard Nolle, who gave this phenomenon its name in 1979.

    The weather will cooperate across portions of the country for viewing, while other locations will have difficulty seeing much more than clouds and fog.


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    A large bubble of high pressure centered in southern Quebec will promote mainly clear skies from Maine through Virginia. These clear skies will support excellent viewing conditions for residents along the I-95 corridor from Portland, Maine, through Richmond, Va.

    With the exception of a few clouds in the Carolinas and Georgia, much of the Southeastern part of the country will also experience mainly clear skies and excellent viewing conditions as high pressure controls their weather.

    A developing storm on the eastern side of the Rockies will send moisture streaming throughout the Plains states tonight. Widespread clouds and showers are expected across the Dakotas and Minnesota southward through Nebraska and Iowa. Residents of Minneapolis, Minn., and Fargo, N.D., will experience poor viewing conditions.

    To the south of this region in the central Plains, strong to severe thunderstorms are possible from northern Oklahoma through eastern Kansas and western Missouri, making viewing conditions difficult.

    Clouds will also be prevalent throughout much of the northern Rockies along with valley rain and mountain snow showers, thereby creating poor viewing conditions.

    A potent storm system moving into the West Coast will bring clouds and rain to much of the region tonight into Sunday. Cities such as San Francisco, Calif., and Reno, Nev. will experience poor viewing conditions.

    Portions of the Southwest will fair a little better with partly cloudy skies and dry conditions expected across parts of the Four Corners and western Texas.

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