Lunar eclipse tonight will likely be totally eclipsed by clouds

Lunar eclipse: For some cities, the local weather will unfortunately not cooperate for a view of tonight's big moon show.

Slamet Riyadi/AP
The Earth casts a shadow over the moon during a partial lunar eclipse that is observed in this June 26 file photo, in Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia.

It appears that for about half the country, the local weather will unfortunately not cooperate for a view of tonight's big moon show. For cities such Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver and Boston, the total lunar eclipse will likely be totally eclipsed by clouds. On the other hand, New York, Philadelphia, Miami and Dallas should enjoy mainly cloud-free conditions.

During tonight's lunar eclipse, the Earth will align between the full moon and the sun, covering the lunar surface in shadow. The eclipse is also falling on the same day as the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere – a rare occurrence that hasn't happened in 372 years. And to top it all off, the Ursids meteor shower is expected to create a few shooting stars tonight that should be especially visible given the dimmed moon. [Complete Lunar Eclipse Guide]

That is, if the weather cooperates.

Stubborn low clouds are expected to disappoint prospective eclipse watchers across much of the upper Midwest, lower Great Lakes, and parts of the South and nation's heartland. Light snows will fall from northern Indiana through the Chicago area, then northwestward into much of Wisconsin, northern Minnesota and northeast North Dakota.

Meanwhile, an active storm track from the Pacific Ocean is expected to bring a widespread swath of clouds and precipitation across much of California, and parts of the intermountain region and desert Southwest. Heavy rains will soak the Los Angeles area, while heavy snows are forecast for parts of southern and western Utah and over the Park and Sawatch Ranges of Colorado.

Much of Washington State, western Oregon and northern Idaho will also likely be robbed of a view of the totally eclipsed moon, thanks to an offshore Pacific storm system.

Finally, central and northern New England will likely be plagued by cloud cover, the result of an intensifying storm southeast of Nova Scotia. The storm will backlash this region with strong, gusty winds, considerable cloud cover and light snows for northern Vermont, northern New Hampshire and much of Maine.

The rest of the United States should be able to partake in at least some views of tonight's lunar eclipse.

Regions that are highly favored to have clear skies include the greater New York area and points south down into the middle Atlantic Coast, as well as much of Texas and southern and central Florida.

Two valuable weather links

There are two ways that you can deduce your chances of getting a view of tonight's eclipse. You can visit this National Weather Service site, which will provide you with links to more than 100 local Service Forecast Offices for the very latest forecasts, as well as satellite images and radar scans.

You should also check out Canada's Weather Office, which was developed by Environment Canada. This site provides cloud forecasts for the United States and much of southern and central Canada, at hourly intervals up to 48 hours, which can be interpreted in the same way as satellite pictures in the visible spectrum. This site is particularly useful if you're in a zone where the weather is expected to be unfavorable; if you're mobile, you can determine where the nearest area of clear skies might be.

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