National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

 

 

 

It will be over 30 years until the next total solar eclipse is observed across Coastal Empire of Georgia and the Lowcountry of South Carolina. On March 30, 2052, Savannah, GA will see three minutes and 30 seconds of totality.

 

Solar Eclipse of 2017 August 21

 

Photo Gallery

  • View of total solar eclipse from Mount Pleasant, SC. Photo: Neil Dixon
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  • totality2.jpg
  • partial2.jpg
  • partial1.jpg

 

It was totally awesome (Pun intended)! On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America was treated to an eclipse of the sun, with the path of totality crossing over portions of 14 states. How did this celestial event fit into the NWS Mission: Provide weather, water, and climate data, forecasts and warnings for the protection of life and property and enhancement of the national economy? Here’s how it did in our area:

Provide weather, water, and climate data, forecasts and warnings:

-At a minimum it only required a 2.5 minute period of unobstructed view of the sky to see the best part of the eclipse: sun’s corona. In preparation for this event, NWS Charleston (CHS), Columbia (CAE), and Greenville-Spartanburg (GSP) developed Eclipse Web page (ex.weather.gov/chs/eclipse) to highlight our various Web forecast formats: Point-and-Click, Hourly Weather Graph, Weather Activity Planner, and User Defined Area Forecast.  Unfortunately, an area of low pressure developed off the Atlantic coast of Florida on Sunday, August, 20th and tracked northeast near the Georgia and South Carolina coast the day of the eclipse. The forecast did feature the fine details of where the offshore low and where the afternoon sea breeze would be positioned during the eclipse, showing enhanced areas of cloud and thunderstorms coverage.

-Our office participated with a multi-federal agency, academic, and public project to conduct the largest geographic radiosonde campaign ever undertaken; called Eclipse Ballooning Project. We were one of three NWS offices to launch balloons before, during, and after the eclipse, collecting upper air measurements of temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, wind direction, and pressure. Here is a look at the three radiosondes we used during the eclipse:

-The observed surface temperature trends were very interesting to view (ex. Clemson, SC). Unfortunately the thunderstorm activity across the Lowcountry did have a noticeable impact on the temperature trace during the eclipse. It is interesting to note that the daily minimum temperature at Charleston and downtown Charleston occurred during the eclipse.

Protection of life and property:

-Thunderstorm activity during the eclipse was monitored very closely for severe weather, excessive rainfall, and lightning. In fact, a Flood Advisory was issued for portions of Berkeley County during the peak of the eclipse, highlighting impassable/ flooded roads in the College Park area.

-We highlighted in multiple social media posts that the only way to safely look at the sun was by using special light filters. Here is an example of one of the eye safety messages:

Enhancement of the national economy:

South Carolina was last state in the path of the total eclipse and the last place in the United States to see the corona of sun was the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge near McClellanville, SC.  Research conducted by the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism (SCPRT) indicated that an estimated 1.6 million people traveled to or within South Carolina to witness this historic event. In addition, based on hotel bookings and travel expenditures, it is estimated that the tourism associated with the eclipse contributed $269 million to the state’s economy.

Interest in the eclipse was certainly observed in analytics of our Web page traffic. In total, the NWS CHS, GSP, and CAE eclipse pages were viewed 207,090 times in 2017. We hope that the (CHS, GSP, and CAE) Web pages and social media posts generated additional interest in this event and provided eclipse observers with detailed weather information. Based SCPRT data, the total solar eclipse was the largest single tourist event in SC’s history!

 

August 21,2017 Eclipse Details for Locations in the Path of Total or Partial Eclipse

 

Location Eclipse Began Totality Began Totality Ended Eclipse Ended Time Zone Duration of Totality Obscuration
Lake Moultrie, SC 1:15 PM 2:44 PM 2:47 PM 4:08 PM EDT 2min 35secs 100%
Cape Romain, NWR 1:17 PM 2:46 PM 2:49 PM 4:10 PM EDT 2min 34secs 100%
Mt. Pleasant, SC 1:17 PM 2:46 PM 2:48 PM 4:10 PM EDT 2min 1sec 100%
Charleston, SC 1:17 PM 2:46 PM 2:48 PM 4:10 PM EDT 1min 36secs 100%
*Walterboro, SC 1:15 PM NA NA 4:08 PM EDT NA 99.83%
*Savannah, GA 1:15 PM NA NA 4:09 PM EDT NA 97%
*Altamaha, GA 1:12 PM NA NA 4:08 PM EDT NA 95%

*A partial eclipse will occur, obscuration will remain greater than 90%. 

Sky Forecast by Area:

Satellite Images:

  • GOES- 16 -- Visible imagery (Possible to see the Moon's shadow during the eclipse!)

Radar Data:


Eclipse Maps for the Total or Partial Eclipse
Path of the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

Above:Path of the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

(click to enlarge)

credit: Fred Espenak - NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center.

Above: Total solar eclipse over South Carolina and Georgia

(click to enlarge)

credit: Fred Espenak - NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center.

Eclipse maps courtesy of Fred Espenak - NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center.
For more information on solar and lunar eclipses: https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEgoogle/SEgoogle2001/SE2017Aug21Tgoogle.html

Interactive NASA eclipse map: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/interactive_map/index.html