You Want A Cloud Forecast THAT Far Out?!? The 2017 Total Solar Eclipse (15)

John Keyes, National Weather Service, Pocatello, ID

 

Abstract:

The 2017 Total Solar Eclipse was one of the biggest celestial events to take place across the contiguous U.S., including the West, in decades. Here in Idaho, we dealt with not only residents of the state, but also upwards of 400,000 visitors from across the world trying to get a pristine view of the event. Those numbers included a record number of visitors to Craters of the Moon National Monument and EBR-1 museum at the Idaho National Laboratory. In terms of decision support, we provided forecasts starting TWO WEEKS PRIOR to the Eclipse to quite a diverse set of publics. That included anyone from a National Weather Service Western Region team down to city and county governments. We provided weather information in a diverse format, including recorded and live briefings as well as hard copy forecasts. These forecasts covered a diverse spectrum of weather information, ranging from cloud cover (including ensemble forecasts) and the chance of rain, to the potential of smoke/wildfires affecting the view of the eclipse, and even weather that could affect the mass exodus of travelers after the eclipse ended. The last point ended up being a big impact even IN GOOD WEATHER, with travelers dealing with 8+ hour delays! We will take a look at the DSS provided, challenges/successes along the way, and lessons learned.