Get AccuWeather alerts right in your browser!
Enable Notifications
Heat Advisory

Where might clouds threaten to block the view of the Great American Eclipse?

By Katy Galimberti, AccuWeather staff writer

On Monday, Aug. 21, the event that millions have anticipated will unfold when the moon passes directly in front of the sun.

It's been 40 years since a total solar eclipse was visible in the continental United States.

The path of totality stretches from Lincoln Beach, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina. In this swath, the moon will completely cover the sun. When this occurs, the sun's atmosphere, known as the corona, will be visible.

Outside of the path of totality, observers will see a partial eclipse.

However, storms and clouds may spoil the view for some.

Static US Eclipse Clouds 2 pm

"In the summertime, there is always the risk of a patch of clouds or a pop-up thunderstorm spoiling the view of the sky," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

"Patchy fair weather clouds are most likely in the humid regions of the East and South and over the mountains in the West," he said. "But, there will be some exceptions on Monday."

Patchy low clouds are in store along the immediate Pacific coast from Oregon to California.

Smoke and haze from wildfires could also hamper viewing conditions at the local level across the Northwest. Eclipse revelers should heed all mandatory evacuation orders and not venture into fire danger areas.

AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Samuhel said some of best cloud-free conditions will extend from interior Oregon and California to Idaho and Wyoming, despite any haze from distant fires.

Oregon solar eclipse 8.17

Over the interior Southwest, the timing of the eclipse will help in terms of cloud cover, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist John Feerick.

"There will continue to be some moisture in place over the Southwest, but the eclipse occurs there a little earlier in the day before most thunderstorms erupt in the afternoon," Feerick said.

Across the interior Southwest, the bulk of the morning clouds will extend from eastern New Mexico to southeastern Colorado and southwestern Kansas.

Pro tips: How to safely capture the best shot of the total solar eclipse
How to safely view the total solar eclipse
Which US regions are likely to offer clear skies when the eclipse occurs?
5 solar eclipse viewing parties you can't miss
Solar eclipse travel forecast: Storms may cause delays in southern, eastern US

An overcast sky may obscure the partial eclipse across a large portion of the Midwest and central Plains. In addition, severe weather will threaten this region.

Along the path of totality from southeastern Missouri to much of Tennessee, the western part of the Carolinas and northern Georgia, sky conditions will be generally clear.

Showers and thunderstorms are most likely in the southeastern corner of the nation due to a batch of tropical moisture. Most of the clouds will extend from northern Florida to coastal areas of South and North Carolina. However, even within this zone, clouds can break at times to catch a view of the sun.

Southeast totality path

In the Northeast, debris clouds from thunderstorms in the Midwest on Sunday will streak through. However, some of these clouds may thin out in time for the eclipse during the afternoon.

Cloud cover and thunderstorms attributed to a tropical feature dubbed 92L will affect Hispaniola, the Bahamas and part of Cuba on Monday.

Solar eclipse promo gif

Click on the banner above to visit AccuWeather's center for the Great American Eclipse.

Report a Typo


Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.

More Weather News