Those solar glasses to view the looming total solar eclipse could be exchanged for rain coats and umbrellas if clouds and thunderstorms make their way through the area Aug. 21.
Meteorologists at The Weather Channel are starting to get a look at the overall weather pattern that may be in place in two weeks. The early forecast calls for clouds and showers throughout the Midwest.
Thousands of people in the Kansas City region are expected to view the coast-to-coast eclipse, which is slated to turn day to night for no more than about two minutes and 40 seconds shortly after 1 p.m.
It’s the first total solar eclipse to cross the entire U.S. in 99 years.
The eclipse’s path of totality, a 70-mile-wide band on the ground where the sun is seen as totally blocked by the moon, cuts across much of the middle of the state on a centerline that leads from St. Joseph to Columbia and through Cape Girardeau.
According to the The Weather Channel, it is still too early to make a credible, specific forecast for any location for the period when the eclipse occurs.
Large-scale storm systems that can sock in dozens of states with clouds and precipitation are rare in summer months, according to The Weather Channel. That leaves, for the most part, thunderstorms.
A single thunderstorm won’t last long enough to affect the entire two- to three-hour viewing period of the eclipse in any given area.
However, meteorologists say, one of these stray thunderstorms could be so poorly timed it occurs over part of the area seeing an eclipse for the roughly two- to three-minute period of totality.
Clusters of thunderstorms — more common in the summer — pose more of a threat to block out the eclipse.
According to meteorologists, rain or cloud shield from the storms can linger over a given location for more than an hour.