US solar eclipse forecast: Spectacle could come with risks of freezing and fires, officials warn

Spectacle could be covered by clouds, experts warn

Andrew Griffin
Thursday 04 April 2024 17:43 BST
A cold Home Opener forecast but milder weekend

The upcoming US solar eclipse could bring the threat of freezing and wildfires, experts have warned.

Parts of the country that sit under the path of totality – where the eclipse will be at its most clear – are also in danger of a wide variety of threats from the weather.

In the east, people are in danger of encountering freezing temperatures. In the south, there is a “critical wildfire risk”, according to the National Weather Service.

Some parts of Texas and nearby states are also under threat of severe thunderstorms and even potential tornadoes, experts warned.

Less extreme weather could also block the view of the event. Predictions suggest that those in the south could have their view obscured by cloud cover – while the Northeast is the region most likely to have a clear view.

That is contrary to predictions based on previous years’ weather, where the clouds had been spread in the opposite pattern. Those predictions had led some to head for the Southern Plains as the region most likely to avoid cloud cover that might cover up the event entirely.

The eclipse will see the Moon briefly move in front of the Sun, turning day into night and creating a spectacular ring of fire that will appear around the edge of the lunar surface. It will arrive on Monday, 8 April.

It will move along a path that covers parts of Mexico, the US and Canada. It will begin around lunchtime, and will last around four-and-a-half minutes in some spots.

Those who are unable to see it because of cloud cover, being in the wrong location or other problems will be able to follow along with live coverage from Nasa, The Independent and others.

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