The Last Word: Meteorologist Jay Anderson on the Possibility of Clouds Hiding the April 8 Total Solar Eclipse

“Sometimes the weather gods are smiling at you.”

Jay Anderson
Canadian meteorologist
.…on the chances that clouds may stay out of the way of your April 8 total solar eclipse experience, via the New York Times.

Everybody’s talking about the total solar eclipse that will appear over North Texas on April 8. But what if it’s cloudy and we can’t see it? Sure, the cloudy skies would suddenly darken mysteriously. But we’d be missing one of the few chances in our lifetimes to see the Moon blotting out the Sun for a tantalizing 3 minutes and 51 seconds, when “totality” can be safely viewed with the naked eye.

Dallas has a 60% average chance of cloud cover on April 8, according to a New York Times report based on data from April 7 through April 14 over the past 20 years, using measurements collected by the MODIS instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite. “Average cloud cover” refers to the portion of the sky covered by cloud. So that means 60% of the sky might be covered by clouds that day, on average, with 40% open to the heavens and hopefully the eclipse itself.

The Times offers an interactive map that lets you enter the name of any city and see its eclipse/cloud chances. Fort Worth has slightly better chances on April 8, with 58% average cloud cover. The analysis shows that the further north you go on the eclipse’s path, the higher the average cloud cover—which is why Mexico, at 35%, may offer the best chance for a clear eclipse view next month.

But the New York Times notes that past data can’t truly predict whether the April 8 eclipse will be visible or cloud-obscured. Anderson, the Canadian meteorologist, told the Times “It’s going to be what it’s going to be” when it comes to our cloud chances.

And perhaps the weather gods really will smile on North Texas, after all—whether you watch it at the Cotton Bowl or the Trinity River in Dallas or the AT&T Performing Arts Center or the Fort Worth Botanic Garden or one of the other countless watch parties on April 8.

If you want to drill down on the subject, Anderson’s website Eclipsophile offers lots more data about climatology and weather for the coming celestial event.

For more of who said what about all things North Texas, check out Every Last Word.

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