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By Zach Butler, Meteorologist Updated 12 days ago April 7, 2024

Total Solar Eclipse 2024 Cloud Cover Forecast

On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will move across North America from Mexico to New Brunswick and Newfoundland Canada, passing through the US from Texas to Maine. We are 1 day away and can pinpoint the locations that will experience clouds and clear skies. The Northeastern US and eastern Canada will have the best viewing conditions with a few areas in the Midwest dodging clouds.

The total solar eclipse is set to cross the US on April 8, 2024. The eclipse will start in southwestern Mexico just after 11 am MST and reach southern Texas at 1:30 pm CDT. The eclipse will then move across the US and reach Maine by 3:30 pm EDT, extending totality through 12 US states! The eclipse will also reach Canada in New Brunswick at 4:30 pm ADT and Newfoundland after 5 pm NDT.

  • The total solar eclipse is when the Moon completely passes between the Sun and Earth.
  • The center of the path in a total eclipse is called the totality.
  • The totality can last a few seconds and up to 4.5 minutes.
  • If you are in the center of this path, the sky will darken and you can see the Sun's corona around the Moon, which will look like wispy waves of light or fire.
  • A partial solar eclipse will be viewed before and after totality and for those outside of the path of totality.
  • The next total solar eclipse will be on April 12, 2045.

solar eclipse forecast

solar eclipse forecast timing

Climatology of April 8 Cloud Cover

Looking back at past weather and cloud cover on April 8 can help us see where clouds and clear skies are favored historically.

We can look back to 1979 to give us over 40 years of April 8 weather information across the US to see what patterns emerge. The map below is courtesy of Brian Brettschneider and uses ERA5 data (ECMWF Reanalysis v5). This data combines vast amounts of historical observations into global estimates using advanced modeling and data assimilation systems.

solar eclipse cloud cover forecast

The areas in warmer colors (yellow and orange) located further southwest in the US and Mexico have the best chance of seeing clear conditions based on April 8 from 1979 - 2022. The grey areas in the Midwest and Northeast US as well as Canada have the worst chance of seeing clear conditions. The further northeast locations in the US and Canada are more likely to see clouds based on April 8 from 1979 - 2022.

Latest Cloud Cover Forecast

We are 1 day away from the total solar eclipse, which means we have a very accurate forecast regarding which areas across North America will see clear and cloudy skies. The forecast has remained consistent since previous posts, indicating the Northeast of the US and into eastern Canada will have clear skies. Additionally, a few areas in the Midwest through Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana on the western edge of the totality path will have mostly clear skies.

Let’s look at the cloud cover across North America, a region-by-region cloud cover forecast, and which ski areas will be in the totality path!

Feature: Bookmark the cloud cover forecast for the next 2 days in OpenSnow.

  1. Tap the "Maps" tab.
  2. Tap the overlay button.
  3. Tap "Cloud Cover".
  4. Scrub the bottom slider.

You can also view the hourly cloud cover forecast for the next 10 days for any location on Earth in OpenSnow.

  1. Go to the "Maps" tab.
  2. Tap anywhere on land or search for a city.
  3. Tap "View Forecast".

Mexico

A southern extension of the jet stream will be tracking through Mexico and the path of totality, unfortunately bringing clouds to the country. The good news is that these clouds will be upper-level or high clouds, accompanying the higher portions of the atmosphere above 17,000 feet. 

Additionally, these clouds will be scattered throughout the country, giving some areas a clear view of the eclipse. The areas most likely to see breaks in the clouds will be along the coast and central Mexico, near the higher elevations.

The clouds that do form will not be particularly dense either, meaning the sun and moon will appear translucent through the clouds, allowing a unique and only slightly obscured viewing of the eclipse. To the north and to the south of the totality path will have guaranteed clear skies, for a clear view of 90-99% of the partial eclipse.

South Central US: Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas

The southern extension of the jet stream moving through Mexico will extend into the South Central US. This will unfortunately bring clouds to many areas in the totality path. Additionally, southeasterly winds at the surface will move moisture from the Gulf of Mexico into these states. This will increase cloud coverage at the surface and a few areas of light rain are likely, as well as afternoon and evening severe weather.

  • The severe weather threat will occur in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, primarily after eclipse viewing.
  • The severe weather threat will include large hail and tornados, especially in the early evening.

High clouds will be thick above 17,000 feet, while the low to mid-level clouds will be scattered in most areas from above the surface to 17,000 feet. This could bring a couple of less cloudy areas for better eclipse viewing. Further west in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas will have fewer clouds, and the clouds will be high for a view of the 90-99% partial eclipse.

Additionally, a few areas through the central Texas-Oklahoma border and in the Ozarks of Arkansas will see breaks in the clouds. This will cause isolated clear and partly clear skies for eclipse viewing.

The greatest area of uncertainty is in central and western Texas on the western edge of the eclipse path. The latest model guidance shows clouds clearing on the western edge of the eclipse, and the forecast will be tight regarding when and where clouds clear in this area. There is a higher chance of clear skies further west, into the partial eclipse zone.

Central US: Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio

The stream of clouds extending from Mexico to the South Central US will also extend into the Central US. This stream of moisture will be narrow and weaken, which will break up clouds and cause a few areas to stay clear.

The forecast for these states continues to be tight regarding how far north and west the area of clouds extends. Clouds will be more widespread and thicker on the eastern and southern edges of the eclipse path, with a few rain showers as well.

On the northern and western sides of the totality path, there will be a higher chance of clear skies. This will bring the best viewing conditions to the central parts of Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. Additionally, where the Ohio River meets the Mississippi River has an increasing chance of clear skies.

Moving towards Ohio gets more complicated. An extension of clouds associated with a storm system tracking through the upper Midwest will track into Ohio and nearby states. This will bring a relatively small area of dense clouds into the eastern half of Ohio, with a couple of rain showers. 

The western half of Ohio will see clouds, but they will be high. The eastern half of Ohio will see scattered low to mid-level clouds, with a higher chance of breaks in the cloud deck closer to Lake Erie and the Pennsylvania border.

Northeast US: Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine

The expansion of clouds and moisture from eastern Ohio will extend into Pennsylvania and New York. This will bring scattered low to mid-level clouds through Pennsylvania and western/central New York, partially blocking eclipse viewing. There will be a few breaks in the cloud deck, but it is difficult to pinpoint exact locations. The highest chance of breaks in the cloud deck will be in Pennsylvania and closer to the Great Lakes.

Ahead of these dense clouds into northern New York and Vermont high clouds will affect the totality path. The further north and eastern parts of New York into the Adirondacks as well as the Green Mountains in Vermont will see less dense and higher clouds. The forecast for northern Vermont will be tight regarding how quickly the high clouds move in during the time of totality. These clouds will be high and not dense, only partially blocking eclipse viewing!

The jackpot of the total solar eclipse will be New Hampshire and Maine. Maybe it is because these are my favorite states and home to a certain extent, regardless, these areas will see clear skies for eclipse viewing.  A couple of areas of high clouds will affect northern Maine, but these will be scattered and not dense, barely blocking eclipse viewing. 

Canada: Southern Ontario, Southern Quebec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland

The area of clouds through New York will also affect southern Ontario. The good news is that these clouds will be mid to high-level clouds, causing a translucent view of the totality. Southern Quebec will also be a great area to view the eclipse with clear skies.

A small area of high clouds will affect New Brunswick, but these will be scattered and not very dense, barely blocking eclipse viewing. 

Finally, we have our friends in Newfoundland! The storm system spinning in the North Atlantic Ocean will move further out to sea, which will bring an increasing chance of breaks in the clouds for the western half of Newfoundland. If the storm continues to move further out to sea, clearer skies will cover the province.

Ski Resorts in the Eclipse Path

From the wise words of the small cross-country ski resort in northern Vermont (Ole Cross-Country), “Ever seen an Eclipse while Nordic Skiing? Me either.” This can apply to downhill skiing and several resorts in southern Canada, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine will have the unique opportunity to ski during the eclipse. 

After a big dump of snow on Thursday, April 4 through Saturday, April 6, fresh snow and clear skies will make eclipse viewing a truly epic experience on the ski mountain. For more information on resorts in the total eclipse path, check out this article from Ski Magazine.

Future Updates Ahead

I will provide a post-eclipse analysis of how the forecast panned out and photos across the country. Please send me photos if you take them to [email protected].

Thanks!


Download the OpenSnow app and stay tuned to our forecasts for the latest weather updates.

Zach Butler

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About The Author

Zach Butler

Meteorologist

Zach Butler is currently a PhD student in Water Resources Science at Oregon State University. He just finished his master's in Applied Meteorology at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. Originally from Maryland, he has grown up hiking and skiing up and down the East Coast. When not doing coursework, he enjoys cooking and exploring the pacific northwest on his bike.

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