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FORECAST UPDATE: Will WNY be able to see the eclipse?

todayApril 2, 2024 1

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We’re now 6 days out from Monday’s total solar eclipse. From a forecasting standpoint, we’re still very much in the early window of forecast accuracy, particularly when trying to predict something like cloud cover. At this early stage, we’re looking at the general pattern in an attempt to paint a big picture perspective. That’s helpful, but only a small piece of the forecasting pie that leans hard on small scale features models cannot resolve just yet.

Ensemble forecasting, essentially a blend of many iterations where small “tweaks” to either the initial conditions and/or the model formula itself, offers meteorologists a greater perspective on the range of outcomes. Long story short, it gives us a whole suite of plausible outcomes from which we can assess probability, or likelihood, of a certain outcome occurring. This is a fruitful approach we use often when we’re tracking a big storm many days out. It has some value in this case, too.

Today’s ensemble blend has trended in a negative direction, leaning harder on outcomes that could manifest with a cloudier sky. That’s the bad news. But there’s still plenty of good. Most of the model suggestion with this cloud cover is mid to high based. These clouds tend to be thin and might not entirely block the view of the Sun. Taking a step back at WHY ensembles have trended cloudier, we find a closed upper low to our west. These lows tend to be cutoff from the steering current and can have a mind of their own. From a forecast accuracy standpoint, they’re a mess. I think our biggest challenge will be the progressive (or lack of) nature of this energy. If it remains slow to move eastward, there are many pathways to favorable skies locally. If it’s more progressive, I think our prognosis is worse. While today has trended the wrong way, the inherent challenges of this sort of setup do NOT yet concern me. Too much time and too many things that can & will change in the days ahead. Unfortunately, much like when forecasting snow, there isn’t much from a concrete nature I can give you on day 6. I remain encouraged by several plausible pathways to relatively clear skies. In WNY in April, that’s a win. Consider if the eclipse were to happen this week. Total bust, zero chance. The fact we still have some wiggle room of optimism is reason to remain positive.

​ We’re now 6 days out from Monday’s total solar eclipse. From a forecasting standpoint, we’re still very much in the early window of forecast accuracy, particularly when trying to predict something like cloud cover. At this early stage, we’re looking at the general pattern in an attempt to paint a big picture perspective. That’s helpful, but only a small piece of the forecasting pie that leans hard on small scale features models cannot resolve just yet.

Ensemble forecasting, essentially a blend of many iterations where small “tweaks” to either the initial conditions and/or the model formula itself, offers meteorologists a greater perspective on the range of outcomes. Long story short, it gives us a whole suite of plausible outcomes from which we can assess probability, or likelihood, of a certain outcome occurring. This is a fruitful approach we use often when we’re tracking a big storm many days out. It has some value in this case, too.

Today’s ensemble blend has trended in a negative direction, leaning harder on outcomes that could manifest with a cloudier sky. That’s the bad news. But there’s still plenty of good. Most of the model suggestion with this cloud cover is mid to high based. These clouds tend to be thin and might not entirely block the view of the Sun. Taking a step back at WHY ensembles have trended cloudier, we find a closed upper low to our west. These lows tend to be cutoff from the steering current and can have a mind of their own. From a forecast accuracy standpoint, they’re a mess. I think our biggest challenge will be the progressive (or lack of) nature of this energy. If it remains slow to move eastward, there are many pathways to favorable skies locally. If it’s more progressive, I think our prognosis is worse. While today has trended the wrong way, the inherent challenges of this sort of setup do NOT yet concern me. Too much time and too many things that can & will change in the days ahead. Unfortunately, much like when forecasting snow, there isn’t much from a concrete nature I can give you on day 6. I remain encouraged by several plausible pathways to relatively clear skies. In WNY in April, that’s a win. Consider if the eclipse were to happen this week. Total bust, zero chance. The fact we still have some wiggle room of optimism is reason to remain positive. Read More NewsRochesterFirst  

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