South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday)

Will there be clear skies for eclipse in South Florida?

- By Bill Kearney

On Monday afternoon, there will be a total solar eclipse in the U.S., meaning the moon will pass between the earth and the sun, and cast a shadow across most of the nation. And it looks like South Florida, unlike other parts of the nation, will have clear-ish skies for optimal viewing.

Even though Florida is not in the path of the total eclipse, or umbra, South Floridians will be able to witness the sometimes otherworld­ly effects of the partial eclipse, or penumbra.

The path of the total eclipse will pass diagonally west to east through San Antonio, Texas, Indianapol­is, Indiana, Buffalo, New York and northern Maine. The partial eclipse will extend all the way south to Colombia, fading in intensity as it goes.

But we’ll need the weather to hold up to enjoy the show. Though the weekend will be gorgeous, winds will shift on Monday, so timing is everything.

NOAA’s interactiv­e map shows that South Florida will start seeing the first smidge of the moon covering the sun at 1:48 p.m. and progress from there, with peak coverage occurring around 3 p.m.

Pensacola and Destin, in the western Panhandle, will experience around 75% coverage, while northern Palm Beach County, just south of Lake Okeechobee and near Jupiter, will get 50% coverage.

Fort Lauderdale will experience a peak coverage of 43.7% at 3:02 p.m.

After peaking, it will take about an hour and 12 minutes for the eclipse to end.

What does Monday’s afternoon weather look like between 1:48 and 4:14?

“Sunny, then mostly sunny and breezy” said the National Weather Service forecast for Monday. “We should still be under high pressure at that point,” said NWS meteorolog­ist Will Redman. High pressure is associated with stable weather conditions and clear skies.

But, as the high pressure moves east over the Atlantic on Monday, winds will shift from the northwest to easterly, and might carry moisture.

“There could be some higher level clouds,” said Redman.

Higher clouds would impede the view less and low clouds, said Redman. “The thinner high clouds can just be like a blanket across the sky, it just depends on how thick they get. But it shouldn’t be that bad.”

Temperatur­es will be in the 70s, and winds will be 10 to 16 mph, with gusts up to 23 mph.

But when the eclipse peaks, those temperatur­es should actually cool, and birds may be thrown off by low light levels and begin to roost as if the sun had set.

As always, when looking directly at a solar eclipse, be sure to wear eclipse glasses.

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