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Weather guru weighs in on eclipse forecast for Northwest

With your solar glasses or a special viewer, watch for the partial phases of the eclipse as the moon passes over the sun, a stage that lasts for a few hours. And so far, the forecast looks good for viewing in the region.
With your solar glasses or a special viewer, watch for the partial phases of the eclipse as the moon passes over the sun, a stage that lasts for a few hours. And so far, the forecast looks good for viewing in the region. TNS

Yes, it seems more likely you can buy those eclipse glasses with confidence and you’ll actually get to see something in the Northwest.

The weather forecast, so far, is shaping up to allow viewing of Monday’s eclipse without a thick blanket of clouds for most of us.

University of Washington professor and meteorologist Cliff Mass, on his latest weather blog post Tuesday, says, “The best weather technology we have suggests a favorable situation for viewing the total eclipse in the Willamette Valley and in eastern Oregon.”

On his blog he tackles three potential threats that eclipse fans, astronomers and even those just wanting to walk outside and look up have been worried about:

▪ Smoke from wildfires.

▪ A front system with deep clouds.

▪ Low marine clouds along the coast and potentially Willamette Valley.

According to Mass: “Smoke is not going to be a major issue for this eclipse unless you are immediately downwind of a local fire.”

On clouds: “We see a lot of low marine clouds over the Pacific, but they don’t extend past the coastal mountains. Salem and the Willamette Valley would be in the clear, as would those in Washington State and eastern Oregon.”

Also: “No low and middle level clouds over the eclipse zone ... which is very important. There are some high clouds over Washington and N.W. Oregon, but these would be thin cirrus.”

And, with traffic even on the back roads of Oregon going to be tedious at best, the side of the Cascades you plan to be on becomes a big deal, since scrambling last minute for a better spot may be next to impossible.

At this point, the Oregon Coast is the only site that remains iffy.

For those staying in the Seattle-Tacoma area, thin, high clouds are possible, but nothing too obstructive.

Of course, we’re still days out from the big day. Mass cautions that Friday is the soonest we can have high confidence in Monday’s forecast.

His blog offers more details at cliffmass.blogspot.com/

As Mass writes, “Praise to the weather gods.”

Debbie Cockrell: 253-597-8364, @Debbie_Cockrell

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