Apr 5, 2024 - News

"Uniform forecast" of clouds for Central Texas during total eclipse

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

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Central Texas is perfectly positioned to witness this year's total eclipse, but the chances of enjoying an unobstructed view are unfortunately slim.

Why it matters: The next time our area falls within the eclipse's path will be in 2343, and millions of people are expected to flock to Texas for the spectacle this year, just for it to be ruined by clouds.

What to expect: Jason Runyen, a National Weather Service meteorologist for Austin and San Antonio, tells Axios no matter where you go in the region, there is a "uniform forecast" of cloud cover.

  • "We're pretty confident there's going to be high clouds over us, it's just how translucent are they going to be?"
  • There's also a 20% chance of rain that could occur during the eclipse, but Runyen expects it to be light showers.

The best-case scenario is translucent cirrus clouds. Runyen says viewers won't get the greatest photographs, but they still will be able to make out the eclipse.

  • "The only inkling of hope is that the low clouds scatter out and the cirrus remains translucent."

The worst-case scenario is thick cirrus clouds plus low-level cloud coverage.

What we're watching: Runyen says a weak cold front will move into Central Texas with dryer air during the early hours of Sunday morning.

  • The key factor is how quickly the front retreats north with moisture on Sunday night.

What they're saying: Runyen says the irony is that according to climatology records, Texas typically has favorable viewing areas compared to places in northeastern parts of the U.S.

  • "What's going to end up happening on Monday is the exact opposite."

What's next: Runyen encourages eclipse enthusiasts to keep an eye on the news tab on the NWS website for hourly cloud coverage forecasts or their social media pages for visual examples of what cloud coverage could look like.

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