For the record, National Weather Service forecasts look only seven days in advance, so any predictions now are not anywhere near solid.
But for eclipse enthusiasts, there’s no time like right now to start predicting best places for viewing the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse, given how travel will be a challenge, particularly from the South Sound to Oregon, in the days and hours leading up to the event.
Reports Monday probably cheered a lot of people heading to Madras, Oregon.
CBS reported that data from retired Canadian meteorologist Jay Anderson showed “the best chance for clear skies is near Madras, Mitchell, and Ontario, Oregon; Idaho Falls, Idaho; and then around Riverton, Wyoming, where less than 20 percent of the sky will by obscured if past trends continue.”
So, while other parts of the country might have longer viewing times, this region, historically for that time of year, offers the best chance for unobscured viewing anywhere in the eclipse path, which stretches in a path across the nation.
Anderson’s Eclipsophile website, which gives a more detailed analysis, does offer some caution: “No other region along the eclipse track has as capricious a climate as Oregon.”
Fog and salty haze are the big concerns around coastal areas such as Newport. The site’s Oregon information states: “... it is possible that any fog that dissipates before 9:20 a.m. will reform as the approaching shadow masks the sun and cools the atmosphere.
“A far better eclipse-watching location — perhaps the best anywhere in the United States — is on the east side of the second mountain chain — the Cascades, which, at 3,000 meters, are high enough to make a major dent in the cloud-cover statistics.”
The website recommends that coastal fans hoping for a beach view monitor the forecast 24 hours before the eclipse and have a “Plan B.”
To help with that, the Weather Service has devoted a page online for its eclipse viewing forecasts: http://www.weather.gov/pqr/eclipse.
Anderson’s site also offers words of encouragement for those who’ve booked their coastal getaway: “Undue pessimism is not warranted, as the eclipse comes ashore at one of the driest times of the year.
“If weather forecasts are favorable, Oregon’s coast will reward a considerable crowd on eclipse day.”