Apr 7, 2024 - News

Houston faces abysmal eclipse forecast

Animated illustration of clouds appearing to block the view of a solar eclipse.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Cloud cover and storms may spoil Houston's view of Monday's total solar eclipse, but local astronomers are still optimistic about the experience.

Catch up quick: The Moon will eclipse about 94% of the Sun over Houston starting at 12:20pm.

  • The eclipse will peak at 1:40pm and end at 3:01pm.

Yes, but: A majority of the U.S. inside the path of totality — including Houston — is expected to see cloud cover anywhere between 30% and 80% Monday, according to the latest models from the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center.

  • Meteorologists predict Texas could see anywhere from 30% cloud cover near Dallas to 60% near Austin, which will both experience a total eclipse.

Zoom in: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration models predict Houston will see 75% cloud coverage at the peak of the eclipse.

What's happening: National Weather Service meteorologists say a frontal boundary that brought beautiful weather to the Bayou City for most of last week is retreating back north — and bringing Gulf moisture along with it.

  • At the same time, winds high in the atmosphere will blow in from the southwest and combine with the Gulf moisture to give Houston a 70% chance of showers and thunderstorms Monday, according to NWS meteorologists.

Despite the conditions, Houston Museum of Natural Science astronomers are pressing onward with their Totality Over Texas celebration, in which they're hosting outdoor watch parties at the museum's central and Sugar Land locations.

What they're saying: "It's why I like eclipses so much — no matter how you see them and what they look like — the fact that they tie you to a moment in time," curator of astronomy Dr. Carolyn Sumners said.

  • "Life is all about making memories, and this is going to be a memory no matter what the weather is."

Meanwhile, the nearby Houston Zoo is inviting guests to see how animals react to the phenomenon.

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