Partial cloud cover forecast for Monday

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view a total solar eclipse in Hamilton County is now just days away, though how clear the view will be depends entirely on Monday’s weather.

Less than a week before the much anticipated eclipse, the extended weather forecast is showing low chances for rain but potentially high chances for partial cloud cover. It could be better, according to Mike Moritz, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Hastings, though it could be worse.
“My take on that day is that it will more likely be dry than wet, but I think clouds will be an issue,” Moritz predicted Monday. “Clouds, especially, are the one thing that’s most important about this forecast and that’s the most challenging. The type of clouds I’m predicting, sort of a high, wispy type of cloud, may not hinder the viewing that much but there are just a lot of variables in that.”
A full week ahead of the event, Moritz is predicting blanketed type cloud cover in Central Nebraska, though he said the skies may be clearer in eclipse viewing areas within a few hours drive.
“The type of clouds I’m anticipating right now are in the mid to upper atmosphere,” he explained. “Having said that, there will be some pockets nearby that will be more clear than others. It’s not perfect, but it’s not terrible either.
“It looks to me like the area in far northeast Kansas and southeast Nebraska looks pretty good,” he added. “Another area that might be okay is in the Wyoming region. We’re sort of in the middle of that and right now that’s where those clouds are looking like.”
For those who are willing to travel to see the eclipse, Moritz advised watching the forecast right up until Monday morning if possible.
“Predicting cloud cover is very complex because it’s not just what you and I would walk outside and see,” he said. “The clouds occur at different levels of the atmosphere. Some are ice clouds and some are water clouds and that can affect what you are able to see. That Monday morning forecast is going to be really important.”
Dan Glomski, a self-proclaimed “eclipse evangelist” who has been working for more than a year to raise awareness to plan viewing events in Aurora, said he for one will be watching the forecast closely. Though he hopes the skies will be clear here Monday, he has made it clear for months that he’ll be hitting the road if necessary.
“I’m going to make the decision at 5 o’clock Sunday,” Glomski said. “I would hate to bug out on people and all of a sudden it clears off and you can see the eclipse. That would be a nightmare for me. So this cooler weather is great if you hate hot summer weather, but for seeing the eclipse this could be a literally worst-case scenario.”
If the cloud-cover forecast looks shaky or bad, Glomski said he will probably head northwest.
“That’s likely where the skies are going to be clearest and driest,” he said. “There are a lot of ranch roads in that area, but I’ve got a couple of ideas for spots. I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”
Kirt Smith, emergency management coordinator, said he will be monitoring the National Weather Service forecast and plans to share updates with emergency managers and event organizers leading up to Monday’s eclipse.

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