WESTERN CHASE ALERT: There is so much hype for totality! This feels like anticipation for a powder day and last minute decisions on where to chase! Instead of anxiety on temperatures, winds, snow density, we're dealing with the fear of just a single cloud to dampen your anticipation. "Remember, the anticipation is half the fun" Crowds are certain so don't expect walk on trams or chairs! There is no such thing as the Eclipse Skunk! Your skunk will be clouds! Predicting clouds leaves lots of unknowns so while one model shows clearing, all it's going to take is a slight change to keep you guessing where you should chase.
Short Term Forecast
Totality Chase PNW
I have been monitoring various cloud models over the past 5 days with both the GFS and EURO at odds with each other on Wyoming and Idaho. Consensus on both models shows your best odds of 90% or better clear skies remains in Oregon where Totality extends from north of Redmond through coastal areas west of Salem. You will be joined by crowds from Canada, Seattle, Portland to the north and 20% of California that may be driving north. Good luck getting 1st chair along Interstate 5! A friend is flying to Redmond (Booked 1 year ago for $65 bucks) and cycling north (Great plan). I was going to fly to Portland Sunday and drop a car in Salem with my Fold Up bike to cycle back to Portland Airport on the shoulder of I-5 after the powder gets skied out (Totality) Monday. I pulled the plug and sit in Utah now debating my next move. That will either be Idaho, Wyoming or Nebraska.
Here is a map below put out from the National Weather Service
Idaho, Wyoming chase
The models showed decent cloud cover for Monday morning in Wyoming and southern Idaho over the past several days. The Euro has trended with more clearing on the past few runs while the GFS still shows light or moderate clouds possible Monday morning but quickly dissipating late AM and early afternoon (It's a gamble but may be worth a chase). There is a band of clouds that will move over north central Idaho and most of Wyoming Sunday night. Clouds will slowly clear from west to east Monday morning over Idaho. Its possible that southeast Idaho remains in a light cloud deck for the peak viewing times late AM Monday as well as western Wyoming. Models are trending faster with this push of clouds to clear the area Monday but its still a gamble. If your chasing in Idaho the further west and north may deliver better odds. If your at Targhee or JHMR traffic won't allow you to leave so stay put and do an eclipse dance on a mountain top! Throw in a winter 17/18 Powder dance as well. It's still going to get dark so enjoy the mountain euphoria! It will be epic regardless!
Colorado which is south of the main path stays cloudy where areas in southern Wyoming extending into Nebraska could see some clearing. Models show a narrow area of clearing over most of western Nebraska Monday morning. That narrow band is a wildcard in my eyes currently so if your lucky this will run the path of totality. If not, even driving 20 miles south or north could deliver clear spots. Nebraska is a wildcard.
BELOW; Latest model run for cloud prediction percentages in the West
Start thinking about Winter 17/18! I will resume Powder Chase Forecasts at some point in October/November.
Remember to bring your Eclipse glasses (Amazon had some fake ones on the website). Remember to bring plenty of food, containers for waste, water, extra fuel and camping gear as your not going to be moving fast on any of the highways. Fuel may be difficult to find! My original plan for Portland with my fold up Brompton may have been the ticket! Oregon State Patrol restricts bikes from the shoulder of I-5 in the Portland Metro area.
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