While thousands of people are flocking to the metro-east and Southern Illinois to view the total solar eclipse on Monday, Mother Nature might throw a wrench in their plans.
National Weather Service forecasters are calling for a 20 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms after 1 p.m. Monday.
Those rains come along just as the eclipse will hit maximum coverage, which experts say will be at 1:19 p.m.
But Patrick Walsh, NWS meteorologist, said it’s too early to really say whether it will have an impact on eclipse viewing.
“It’s possible. At this time it’s still five days out; we don’t have a real good grasp on the timing,” he said on Thursday morning. “There is a still a lot of variability with it. It will probably be something more isolated than widespread, as well.”
In Carbondale, which is right in the path of totality, forecasters are calling for similar weather — a chance of rain and thunderstorms after 1 p.m.
Cloudiness could interfere with viewing the eclipse, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information. Even so, the NCEI estimated about an 80 percent chance of good viewing conditions in Carbondale.
NCEI officials found that coasts were more likely susceptible to cloudier conditions, but the chances of cloud cover during the eclipse increased along the path once it was east of the Mississippi River.
The NWS said the total solar eclipse path runs from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina; people not on the path of totality will witness a partial eclipse.
How to view the eclipse safely
- Never look directly at the sun without proper eye protection. You can seriously injure your eyes.
- Use certified eclipse glasses to look at the sun during the eclipse. Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief phase of eclipse totality, when the moon fully covers the sun. Eclipse glasses are made with special-purpose solar filters.
- Four manufacturers have certified that their eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard for such products — Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical and TSE 17.
- Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter. Always supervise children using solar filters.