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TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN



You know your best days are probably behind you when you can remember the 1972 Carly Simon song and its verse, "Well I hear you went up to Saratoga, and your horse naturally won. Then you flew your lear jet up to Nova Scotia, to see the total eclipse of the sun". The reference being to people flocking to Canada to witness the 1972 eclipse...it was must see TV (without streaming). Over 50 years later, another opportunity exists, only this time you don't have to road trip half the continent to experience the unique effects.


Weather permitting, Davenport (and much of my area) will be able to see a near total eclipse for 2 hours and 30 minutes with 90% of the sun obscured by the moon at the peak at 2:03 p.m. If you want full on totality, you might consider a trip to Carbondale, Illinois or maybe Indianapolis. It happens there.


In case you are not astronomically inclined, a solar eclipse occurs when the sun, the moon, and Earth line up, either partially or fully. A total solar eclipse happens when the moon completely covers the sun.


According to NASA, "the sky will darken, as if it were dawn or dusk. Birds will stop singing and temperatures will even drop a few degrees. Weather permitting, people in the path of a total solar eclipse can see the Sun’s corona, the outer atmosphere, which is otherwise usually obscured by the bright face of the Sun." There's a possibility of solar flares and coronal mass ejections this year.


Iowa has a unique history with eclipses. Des Moines, for example, has a higher-than-average occurrence of solar eclipses directly overhead. They arrive on average every 155 years, compared to the global average of 375 years.


As with any celestial event, day or night, clouds are always a concern. A full on low overcast is the kiss of death. Broken clouds or even a high thin overcast will still get you in the game, but clearly lessen the effect. The NWS says,"totality or bust, check the forecast and adjust!" I double down on that advice. Here is a forecast issued Friday, specifically highlighting areas of potential cloudiness around the time of the event. Currently, the good news is that cloud chances are less than 30 percent in the totality path from SE Missouri to southern Illinois into central Indiana. No forecast is set in stone at this distance but at least for now this one gives you an idea where viewing issues may exist, Chances in Iowa are a bit shaky, especially in the NW half where odds of clouds are currently at 60-70 percent. Odds in SE Iowa and northern Illinois are more like 30-50 percent, best the further southeast you go.



Do not look directly at the eclipse, it is unsafe. You should look up at the moon and the sun intersecting paths only through special eclipse glasses, which are much darker than regular sunglasses. There is a moment of totality when viewers can look directly at the moon covering the sun, but only while the entire face of the sun is covered. Otherwise, looking at the eclipse can seriously damage your eyes and even cause blindness.


TERRY'S 5-STAR AIRBNB, WHERE VACATIONS ARE HEAVENLY (MAKE IT YOURS)

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BACK TO THE WEATHER AT HAND...

Friday we finally got our early week storm to move far enough east to get some sun back in the sky, but it took most of the day to do it in the south. Highs were rather crisp, mainly in the 50-54 range. Saturday promises even better weather, with winds turning to the southeast. Drier air and a fair amount of sunshine should push highs into the mid and upper 50s, closer to normal.


MORE RAIN LATE WEEKEND

Sunday, a fresh storm system comes off the Plains. It pulls in enough moisture to set off some warm air advection showers and perhaps a couple thunderstorms. Models are indicating rainfall amounts of 1/4 to perhaps as much as a 1/2 inch in a few spots. The band of rain sweeps out of my SW counties in the morning, meaning a much warmer day there, with highs in the low to mid 60s. The NE will battle clouds and probably some showers that last into Sunday night. Highs Sunday may be hard-pressed to get much above 52-56 in the NE half. Sunday also looks to be a breezy day, with gusts out of the SE reaching 30 mph.+


For the most part, Monday through Wednesday should be dry days with temperatures more seasonal, around 60-65. The EURO meteogram in the Quad Cities shows highs that look like this the next 10 days.



The GFS is a little cooler and there is some support for that. However, its end game brings an 80 April 19th before another big dip. To be honest, this is the type of push-pull temperature pattern that April is noted for as the warmth of summer tries to poke its way into the Midwest from time to time.


Precipitation over the next 7 days looks about normal, with no widespread major storms currently showing in the 6-10 day period. Here's the Climate Prediction Center's 6-10 day outlook.

That's the long and short of it on a Saturday. Have a delightful weekend and fire up for that eclipse. I sure hope we can this thing, as the next total eclipse won't impact the U.S. until August 2044. Roll weather...TS

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