National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Upcoming Pattern Shift to Bring Heavy Mountain Snow to the West

Heavy, accumulating snow is likely today in the Cascades and Sierra Nevada. Another Bering Sea storm will bring strong winds and heavy precipitation to the Aleutians and southwest Alaska into Thursday. Light snow is expected from the Ohio Valley into the Northeast. A widespread and significant winter storm is expected to move into the Central Rockies and High Plains Thursday into Friday. Read More >









August 21, 2017

A total solar eclipse will track from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic. The shadow of the moon will begin over Oregon and move east to Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina. Totality will begin over the US in Newport, OR at 10:16 PDT and will end near Charleston, SC at 11:48 PDT. A partial solar eclipse will be viewable over the rest of the US. This will be the first solar eclipse to cross the continental U.S. from coast to coast since 1918! The next two solar eclipses to pass over the continental U.S will come in April 2024 and August 2045.

In the Pacific Northwest, totality will track across north central Oregon and central Idaho. At the center of totality the moon will block out the sun completely for approximately 2 minutes. Totality time will decrease the further you are away from the center of totality. The eclipse will pass from Oregon into Idaho at approximately 11:30 AM MDT. 


Eclipse Path Map

Blue Line: Center of Totality

Red Lines: Northern and Southern Bounderies of Totality


Sky Cover Climatology

The most common clouds west of the Cascades during summer mornings is marine stratus which tends to fill the Willamette Valley and clear by late morning. Other common cloud phenomena in summer include the development of late morning - early afternoon cumulus clouds that initiate over higher terrain but typically don't completely fill the sky, and high level cirrus clouds of differing thickness, which are typically remnants of previous thunderstorm activity. Smoke layers from wildfires can increase the opacity of the sky, though typically not obscure the sun unless the fire is nearby.

The statistics below are for sky cover as recorded over a 3 day period (Aug 20-22) between 10 am-11 am PDT or 11 am - Noon MDT for a given period of record at the recording site. Limitations to these statistics include a short period of record at some sites, and the reliance on automated observing systems which only record cloud conditions at or below 12,000 feet above the ground. Clear conditions are defined as zero to one-eighth average sky cover. Scattered: 1/8 to 4/8. Broken: 5/8 to 7/8, and Overcast: 8/8. 




Average Sky Conditions

 10 -11 am PDT mid-late August

Percent (%) Time Observed Sky Condition
City  Clear   Scattered   Broken   Overcast 

 Period of Record (yrs) 

Baker City, OR 50 17 15 18 43
Ontario, OR 92 5 1 2 19
Burns, OR 80 8 6 6 25





Average Sky Conditions

11 am - Noon MDT mid-late August


Percent (%) Time Observed Sky Condition
City  Clear   Scattered   Broken   Overcast   Period of Record (yrs) 

Boise, ID


15 14 9 72

Mountain Home, ID


36 19 7 64

Twin Falls, ID


23 10 8 43

Jerome, ID


8 5 5 17
McCall, ID 74 - 17 9






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National Weather Service forecasts are issued out to 7 days. Please check back for accurate forecasts near the eclipse date.


What is an Eclipse?

There are 2 different types of eclipses: solar and lunar.

A lunar eclipse happens at nighttime and occurs when the moon passes through the shadow of the Earth. These types of eclipses are much more common and generally last for a few hours.
Lunar Eclipse
A lunar eclipse is generally viewable in the locations in which it is nighttime. Lunar eclipses occur roughly 2 to 4 times per year.

Solar eclipses on the other hand are a rare event to see. Solar eclipses occur when the moon passes in between the Earth and the Sun.

Solar Eclipse
Eclipse safety below will explain the dangerous of viewing a solar eclipse and how to view one safely.
Solar eclipses can be broken up into 2 categories: Partial and Total. Partial solar eclipse is when the moon does not completely block out the Sun. This is due to there the Moon, Sun, and Earth do not form into a perfectly straight line. A total solar eclipse is what we will experience on August 21, 2017. The Moon, Sun, and Earth will align and the moon will completely cover the sun. Only during this time is it safe to look at the eclipse without any eye protection. This will only last for a few minutes before the Moon moves and the sun will begin to reappear.

Solar Eclipse

  • This will be the first total solar eclipse on America since 1991
  • The first solar eclipse to move across the entire mainland of America since 1918
  • Community and social events are being held across the United States click here to find one across the US.



Eclipse Safety

Safety is a big concern when viewing a solar eclipse. You should NEVER look directly at the sun during an eclipse. Looking directly at the sun is only safe during the few minutes when the sun is at the totality. That will only occur in the very narrow path of about 60 to 70 miles wide from Oregon to South Carolina (see map above).

Viewing a Solar Eclipse


The only way to safely observe a partially eclipsed sun is through special solar filtered glasses. Homemade filters and ordinary sunglasses, are not safe for looking at the Sun. There are several manufactures of eclipse glasses to meet international standards.
Solar Glasses
Glasses can be found at various online retailers and are generally inexpensive. Be sure to follow any packaging instructions and supervise children using solar glasses.

If you are looking for a DIY solar eclipse viewer a pinhole projector is a safe but indirect way to view a solar eclipse.

Pinhole Projector


Other ways to view a solar eclipse include:

  • Telescopes with a Solar Filter
  • Welder's Glass #14 or darker



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