With the eclipse less than a week away, forecasters are already working to predict what may happen during this once in a lifetime event—and there’s some good news and bad news.
The good news is, it could be a little cooler during totality when the moon blocks the sun, knocking out the heat at least temporarily. The bad news is, it could be cloudy or raining depending on where you are, according to Joshua Weiss, with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C.
Although it’s still too early to say what the exact weather will be in Horry and Georgetown counties, the extended models suggest hot and humid weather with a chance for afternoon showers and thunderstorms, Weiss said.
“However, at this time it does not look to be as cloudy and rainy as it has been the past several days,” he added. “As we get closer this will become more clear.”
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Weiss said August in the Carolinas typically features thunderstorms and afternoon clouds.
“A stalled cold front could make it much cloudier with more coverage of thunderstorms whereas a high pressure from the north could bring more clear and cooler temperatures,” he said. “A large upper-level ridge could bring hot but dry weather, while an upper trough would create more cloudiness and better thunderstorm chances.”
NWS officials are monitoring their forecast models to get a handle on what Monday’s weather will be like. Weiss said close examination of clouds and rainfall chances will be crucial during eclipse day.
Aside from it getting dark in the middle of the day, you can expect something else unusual to happen.
Weiss said temperatures may drop anywhere from five to eight degrees during and shortly after totality.
“Cooling during what is typically the hottest part of the day is odd, and it is possible that cloud cover could actually erode somewhat since clouds in the summer are usually driven by heating,” he said.
NWS Wilmington officials reminded the public to not look at the sun without eclipse glasses. Wearing regular sunglasses will not work and you can still cause damage without proper eye protection.
“The only time you can look at the sun with unprotected vision is during the two minutes or so of totality, when the moon 100-percent blocks the sun,” Weiss said. “Even at 99-percent coverage you can get eye damage without eye protection.”
Monday’s eclipse will be the first total eclipse to affect the Carolinas since 1970.