Total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 - predictions

Jun 1, 2008
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Chattanooga, TN
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Two best targets east of the Rockies appear to be far western Nebraska, west of the forecast cirrus deck and...
East Tennessee where our forecast is significantly better than our lol climo.

Eastern Nebraska toward KCMO has risk of streaming high clouds on southwest flow out of Kansas. KCMO may still luck out between those clouds and the dying morning MCS. I am truly hoping for the best back in my hometown.

South Carolina was a back-up target until their clouds and PW forecast went to the dogs. IL/KY have mid-high level cloud questions. Given high cloud issues farther northwest, I will view it from here in East Tennessee. Who would of thought?

I know this means a lot to many who have anticipated for years. Good luck to everyone!
 
Jul 5, 2009
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
This post is not exactly weather related but I will share anyway. Southwest cancelled my Philadelphia to Denver flight today (Friday) and couldn't re-book me until Sunday night, which was too close for comfort. So I had to spend $1000 extra for my family of five to get flights on another airline on Saturday. I am absolutely livid. Meanwhile my rental car reservation, for today at noon, expires Saturday at noon. I will not make it in time. Rental cars at DEN are completely sold out. Why shouldn't I be able to change my reservation to pick up on Saturday if I have it reserved for the whole time? And am willing to pay for the day anyway? But no, because they are sold out, I was not allowed to change it, online or by phone. "The system" prevents it. My only assurance that I will still have a car when I get there with a family of five is a one-line email from the local manager. I am taking a real risk of being stranded in Denver with no rental vehicle for a family of five. You cannot imagine my anxiety and anger over this, especially because Southwest blamed the weather when they cancelled this Friday morning flight on Thursday night, but there were only showers at PHL this morning and Southwest was responsible for 6 of only 8 inbound or outbound cancellations at PHL as of this morning. I will NEVER use Southwest again.

After a miserable storm chasing trip this spring (and nightmarish all night delay getting there - yes, on Southwest) I am about to quit any hobby that has anything to do with things like weather and travel that I can't control.


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Dan Robinson

Staff member
Jan 14, 2011
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St. Louis
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James, that's awful! Do you have a Twitter account? Companies monitor tweets there and are more likely to see it if you were to publicly @ them with the problem. I have seen companies take action as a result of a Tweet that is public. as opposed to Facebook

RE clouds - still a nail-biter of a forecast from Nebraska to Illinois. I am cautiously optimistic of the trends on the NAM, but the GFS has been very persistent on storms along the MO warm front overnight/into the morning. A lot of the NWS offices along the path are issuing special eclipse forecasts in their discussions, worth checking out.
 

JeremyS

EF2
Mar 12, 2014
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Omaha, NE
When's the HRRRx supposed to start going to 48 hours? We're within 48 hours and the 18Z only went to 36 hours and now the 19z and 20z only went to 18 hours


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Mitch Magee

Enthusiast
May 17, 2011
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First time post here.

I've been a member here for a number of years, but this has prompted me to jump right in. Keeping my eclipse contingency thoughts to my self is making me about to explode.... :)

Since my eclipse plans for KC (i.e. observe totality from my backyard) seem to be going down the chute, my Plan B is to leave early/mid-evening Sunday to avoid the crowds (I can't imagine a whole lot of people will have the same idea), and hopefully arrive in west Kentucky by daybreak. Well, that's the plan for now. If I sit in traffic for a few more hours, I can listen to tunes and podcasts.

I'm thinking/hoping the clouds in KY will be limited to diurnal cumulus and perhaps a little cloud debris from the convection back home. I don't like any of this, but it's better than trying to see the sun through thick cirrostratus and possible storms. I heard about the possible rain in SE Missouri, but I think they are just playing with probabilities (which is prompting me into KY). If storm do pop up in KY, I'd think they would be limited to isolated. Of course, this plan may change with the next forecast discussion....

I know this adventure, with the lack of sleep, will be painful. But missing the eclipse would be more painful. After all, some travel all the way to Antarctica to see these.
 

Dan Robinson

Staff member
Jan 14, 2011
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St. Louis
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The NAM and NAM NEST are starting to fall in line with what the GFS has shown pretty much all along since 7 days ago, a disheartening mess of multiple MCS/stratiform rain activity from Nebraska all the way down to southern Illinois and western Kentucky. I don't see any "comfortable" zones outside of Wyoming (and points west) and maybe central Tennessee. A rather unfortunate turn of the outlook. There will be some breaks here and there, one will just have to hope to luck into one of those gaps.
 

Brian G

EF2
Sep 25, 2014
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St. Louis, MO
When's the HRRRx supposed to start going to 48 hours? We're within 48 hours and the 18Z only went to 36 hours and now the 19z and 20z only went to 18 hours


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I believe tonights 0Z run will go out to 48 hours. The RAPx also has the eclipse module in it. The 21Z run went out to 51 hours. It's plainly obvious based on heat flux and radiation products that the eclipse is modeled.
 
Jun 1, 2008
488
387
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Chattanooga, TN
www.linkedin.com
...Since my eclipse plans for KC (i.e. observe totality from my backyard) seem to be going down the chute, my Plan B is to leave early/mid-evening Sunday to avoid the crowds (I can't imagine a whole lot of people will have the same idea), and hopefully arrive in west Kentucky by daybreak. Well, that's the plan for now. If I sit in traffic for a few more hours, I can listen to tunes and podcasts.

I'm thinking/hoping the clouds in KY will be limited to diurnal cumulus and perhaps a little cloud debris from the convection back home. I don't like any of this, but it's better than trying to see the sun through thick cirrostratus and possible storms....
If you can leave earlier and get into Tennessee, go as far as possible toward or past Nashville. Forecast looks good here. I expect the HRRRX will punt that Cumberland Plateau TCU. Still pick a lower elevation either straight east of Nashville (Lebanon) or farther east in the actual Tennessee Valley. Kentucky could be smothered in high clouds, not a deal killer, but Tennessee looks better. Might look at Wyoming and far western Nebraska unless it is farther from KCMO. I have not looked closely at the Wyoming/Neb forecast. I will observe from Tennessee so I'm mainly forecasting here.

Sure would be nice if the eclipse had been today, Saturday. It was nearly clear from coast to coast. Breaks my heart watching the KCMO forecast go to the dogs. I grew up there. I learned about the eclipse reading a science book in the 1980s. Been waiting 30 years. While I was willing to travel I'm very thankful the forecast looks good in East Tennessee.

Best of luck to everyone from coast to coast. Still time for mesoscale miracles!
 
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Mitch Magee

Enthusiast
May 17, 2011
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If you can leave earlier and get into Tennessee, go as far as possible toward or past Nashville. Forecast looks good here. I expect the HRRRX will punt that Cumberland Plateau TCU. Still pick a lower elevation either straight east of Nashville (Lebanon) or farther east in the actual Tennessee Valley. Kentucky could be smothered in high clouds, not a deal killer, but Tennessee looks better. Might look at Wyoming and far western Nebraska unless it is farther from KCMO. I have not looked closely at the Wyoming/Neb forecast. I will observe from Tennessee so I'm mainly forecasting here.

Sure would be nice if the eclipse had been today, Saturday. It was nearly clear from coast to coast. Breaks my heart watching the KCMO forecast go to the dogs. I grew up there. I learned about the eclipse reading a science book in the 1980s. Been waiting 30 years. While I was willing to travel I'm very thankful the forecast looks good in East Tennessee.

Best of luck to everyone from coast to coast. Still time for mesoscale miracles!
Thanks. It is really sad that untold millions will miss out on this event because of the badly timed clouds, especially with family and friends in KC.
 

Mitch Magee

Enthusiast
May 17, 2011
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Speaking of mesoscale miracles, what are your guesses on the feasibility of 'clear chasing' in the last hour or two? I know the roads, especially large highways, will be clogged as everyone heads to their viewing site, but I figure most will stay put once they've arrived, even if clouds threaten. As my driving options seem to extend increasingly out of reach in both directions, I may just gamble with a fair/meh forecast closer to home.
 

JeremyS

EF2
Mar 12, 2014
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Omaha, NE
Anybody have an opinion on the accuracy of the HRRR now that it is going out to 48 hours? I know that the Nam is generally not very accurate towards the end of its 84 hour run. As of right now central to western Nebraska doesn't look that bad at hour 42 (18Z) on Monday. Also will the HRRR be going out to 48 hours every hour or just every 6 hours?


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Brian G

EF2
Sep 25, 2014
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St. Louis, MO
Anybody have an opinion on the accuracy of the HRRR now that it is going out to 48 hours? I know that the Nam is generally not very accurate towards the end of its 84 hour run. As of right now central to western Nebraska doesn't look that bad at hour 42 (18Z) on Monday. Also will the HRRR be going out to 48 hours every hour or just every 6 hours?


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When HRRRv3 goes live (probably in 2018) it will go out to 36 hours at the synoptic times (0, 6, 12, 18) and stay at 18 for the other hours. The extension to 48 hours is temporary and was done specifically to assist with eclipse research and forecasting. I believe only the 0 and 12 runs go out to 48.
 
Jul 5, 2009
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
Made it to Boulder and nervous about the long drive north in the morning. Looking like WY is now a better bet than NEB. Wanted to avoid I-25 but I don't think there's any way to do that because I want to be able to adjust as needed, to avoid I-25 I would have to commit too far west or east. Besides I have a couple young kids with me so could use stops at the larger towns on I-25.


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Mar 16, 2004
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New Jersey
PivotalWeather added a 4-run mean cloud cover image


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Jim, I tried to contact you via PM and email. I can get you a room in Cheyenne tonight. Looks like that's where my brother and I are heading to today. Let me know if you're interested. Check the upper right corner of the screen for the envelope icon.
 
Jul 5, 2009
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
Jim, I tried to contact you via PM and email. I can get you a room in Cheyenne tonight. Looks like that's where my brother and I are heading to today. Let me know if you're interested. Check the upper right corner of the screen for the envelope icon.


Hey Sean, thanks so much, that's so generous of you, I just replied via PM


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JeremyS

EF2
Mar 12, 2014
170
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Omaha, NE
I'm heading towards Grand Island and northwest of there. Can't leave until tomorrow morning though. I'm just so unsure of traffic and how that will affect how far we can go. HRRR continues to look very promising for a decent chunk of Nebraska at least even if GFS and NAM aren't on board.


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Jeff Duda

Resident meteorological expert
Staff member
Oct 7, 2008
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Westminster, CO
www.meteor.iastate.edu
Heading to Salina tonight. Weather-ignorant plan had been Fairmont, NE, just off U.S. 81, but given the forecasts of cloudiness across much of NE, I may end up flying east along I-70 tomorrow morning in an attempt to catch the part of it in MO. I really don't have much other mobility, so if NE is clouded over and traffic sucks around KC, I'm pretty much SOL. But I'm at least giving it a try.
 
Jul 5, 2009
887
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
Afternoon discussion just out from Cheyenne:

Light, moist southeast flow will allow stratus to
develop over the NE Panhandle overnight, possibly encroaching into
east central WY in the Platte River Valley. Forecast soundings are
suggesting some potential for fog, especially via the NAM. 12z GFS
quite a bit drier though, so opted to leave this out of the latest
forecast and let the evening shift re-evaluate. Any fog or stratus
over southeast Wyoming should erode very quickly by 15z as a front
causes winds to shift to the northwest. The Panhandle sites should
take longer to clear out on Monday AM, so Wyoming is looking quite
good for the Great American Eclipse.


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Regrettably, I did not shotgun reservations like I probably should have, so we were/are committed to Broken Bow, NE for tonight. Travel was extremely light yesterday and today from Arizona into Nebraska. Watching traffic cams elsewhere for Wyoming and Nebraska, as of now, everything looks wide open and the only somewhat heavier traffic is northbound I-25 into Wyoming...and that looks like any normal Friday afternoon on I-17 in Arizona.

I'm cautious about how well HRRR is rendering Cloud Cover at the moment. The 18Z run didn't capture the high or low clouds that we drove under this afternoon from northern Kansas into central Nebraska.

I'll probably do a 3AM check on surface observations and IR satellite and latest NAM/HRRR and see if we need to make a very early run westward into Wyoming. Traffic trends are giving me hope that could work as our backup plan.
 

Mark Egan

EF0
Jul 13, 2017
11
14
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Frisco
Afternoon discussion just out from Cheyenne:

Light, moist southeast flow will allow stratus to
develop over the NE Panhandle overnight, possibly encroaching into
east central WY in the Platte River Valley. Forecast soundings are
suggesting some potential for fog, especially via the NAM. 12z GFS
quite a bit drier though, so opted to leave this out of the latest
forecast and let the evening shift re-evaluate. Any fog or stratus
over southeast Wyoming should erode very quickly by 15z as a front
causes winds to shift to the northwest. The Panhandle sites should
take longer to clear out on Monday AM, so Wyoming is looking quite
good for the Great American Eclipse.


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Is there a concern that the fog/stratus may reform as the temperature drops leading into totality?

By the way, did you end up making arrangements to get to the totality path?
 
Jul 5, 2009
887
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
Hi Mark, thanks for asking, if getting up at 4am to drive north from Boulder into WY qualifies as "arrangements" then yes :) Despite all the logistical problems we had with our trip, this particular segment of it was always the plan, given that there were no rooms in southeastern WY / NEB panhandle when we made our plans a couple months ago. I hate having such a long drive, but if all goes well with travel and clouds it will all have been worth it. The good news is that 4am MDT is 6am back home on the east coast, so hopefully it won't feel quite so early...

Re: your question on fog/stratus, I'm no expert but I would think fog/stratus would take longer to form than the period of time provided by the eclipse.

Good luck to you!!!



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Dan Robinson

Staff member
Jan 14, 2011
2,558
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St. Louis
stormhighway.com
I just did a dry run down to my viewing site near Evansville, Illinois, and it is "business as usual" down there in the totality path. We went through Sparta, Baldwin and St. Libory. Absolutely nothing is going on. No crowds, no festival tents, no campers, no signs, no traffic. In fact, the road I use to get back to my town had two cars coming south in 10 miles. Looking at the Google traffic maps across the country, it appears the clogged roads concern may very well be a non-event.

Aside from the synoptic mid/high clouds plaguing Nebraska, the main cloud threat for MO/IL/KY/TN will be convection-related. The HRRR has backed off of the coverage overnight through tomorrow, although a few thunderstorm clusters forming today in MO with similar conditions tomorrow is a little concerning. Overall, I think the outlook here is a little better, and there may actually be some open roads to reposition with.
 
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