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2017 Eclipse Blog / FAQ

What if it’s cloudy on eclipse day?

Eclipse chasers don’t like to use the C-word, but they do have to consider the possibility, of course. If it’s cloudy, you won’t see what you will see if it’s clear – simple as that.

For those in the path:

If the sky is completely overcast, it will get VERY dark – pitch black, in fact, to the point where it will be tricky to walk around.

If there are broken or scattered clouds, then you will have to hope that the Sun is not behind one of them at the time of totality.  If you can re-position yourself to spot where the Sun will be in the clear during totality (this is the REAL “eclipse chasing”!), then you will be able to see the Diamond Ring, the corona, and all the cool effects that present during totality.

If the Sun is behind a cloud during totality, you will still experience the temperature drop, and the sunset glow on the horizon – but this is not how you want to see a total eclipse!

What veteran eclipse chasers do is to plan for a viewing location that historically has given signs of having as few clouds as possible on eclipse day. But we’re still subject to the whims of weather, and so mobility on eclipse day is very important.

It’s not unusual for die-hard eclipse chasers to keep airplanes on standby, in case they have to make a last-minute run for it to escape clouds! With mobility as easy as it is in the USA, though, we should be able to look at forecasts a day or two before, and move accordingly to try and get into a path location that promises to be cloud-free.

Remember that most eclipse chasers think nothing of going into the remotest parts of the world – a little diversion such as having to relocate to Wyoming from North Carolina is NOTHING compared to the wonder of seeing a total eclipse! Again, after you see it, you will understand why.

6 Responses to “What if it’s cloudy on eclipse day?”

  1. Steven Reiser says:

    I was at the center of totality for the February 26, 1979 Total Solar Eclipse standing on a hill top all by myself on a mostly cloudy in Moscow, Idaho (where I graduated the previous year in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Degrees). While I stood there I waited for the eclipse and then saw a wall of darkness engulfing the clouds to the west as it raced toward me at incredible speed ( probably near 2000 MPH). A couple minutes later I saw a wall of light approaching at incredible speed, and clouds popping into whiteness as it approached. The Memory of the wall of darkness and wall of light is etched in my brain forever as the most AWESOME experience and unforgettable and an experience of a life time – so DESPITE all the wonders of a Solar Corona, a cloudy day is still mind blowing and the darkness is even MORE intense with heavy overcast, and you still noticed birds stop singing and dogs start barking, street lights come on,etc. Hence, a total solar eclipse on a cloudy day is still and unforgetable life changing experience

    • Theresa says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience. We know it’s going to be something special whatever happens with the weather. Being in the moon’s shadow will be memorable. Looking forward to Monday!

  2. Patrick Warner says:

    Thanks for the info. My question was one of choice. Should I stay in the Hudson Valley for a 77% Totality eclipse on a clear day or drive to a Total Eclipse location on a rainy day?

  3. GAC says:

    Patrick, if those are you’re ONLY choices, I would choose totality/rain over clear/partial/77%. Of course, if you HAVE the opportunity to go to a clear place that will experience totality, then do it. I wish I would have planned better and thought about this last year.

  4. dj hones says:

    To cloudy in Hagerstown, md…missed it

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