While you watch the eclipse, you’ll also be able to feel it

Apr 7, 2024, 3:02 PM

People watch the total solar eclipse in Madras, Oregon, in August 2017. April’s total solar eclip...

People watch the total solar eclipse in Madras, Oregon, in August 2017. April’s total solar eclipse will block the entire sun in a 115-mile wide path from Texas to Maine, known as the path of totality.

(CNN) — On Monday, April 8, a total solar eclipse will alter weather conditions on the Earth’s surface while the astronomical marvel unfolds in the sky.

Changes to temperature, wind speed and humidity occur as the moon crosses in front of the sun and casts a shadow on Earth’s surface during a solar eclipse.

The more sunlight blocked, the more dramatic the weather changes. The effect is comparable to how shaded areas end up much cooler on a hot day than any place in direct sunlight.

April’s total solar eclipse will block the entire sun in a 115-mile wide path from Texas to Maine, known as the path of totality. Dallas, Indianapolis, Cleveland and Buffalo, New York, are just a few cities that will experience the phenomenon.

The moon will block a significant portion of the sun and create a partial solar eclipse outside of the path of totality. The closer an area is to the path of totality, the larger the portion of the sun and its solar radiation – sunlight and energy – will be obscured by the moon.

At least 50% of the sun will be blocked during the eclipse as far west as Anaheim, California, and as far east as Orlando, Florida. Only around 20% of the sun will be blocked in the Pacific Northwest.

But a reduction in solar radiation, no matter how brief, can affect temperatures and other weather.

Not all eclipse weather changes are created equal, though. The exact drop in temperature can vary widely based on other factors like cloud cover and the time of year.

Time of year matters because the angle at which sunlight strikes the Earth affects temperatures, with a higher angle producing more intense sunshine and heat. The sun angle rises throughout the spring, reaches its peak in summer and starts to drop in the fall.

The last total solar eclipse took place during a summer afternoon in late August, so temperatures were already high and more prone to crater in some locations along the path of totality.

Temperatures fell 11 degrees over just one hour in Douglas, Wyoming, and widespread temperature drops of 4 to 8 degrees happened across the South.

April’s eclipse will unfold with a lower sun angle than August, but as the warmest part of the afternoon approaches. So, the brief, eclipse-driven cooldown will be quite noticeable before temperatures rebound back to pre-eclipse levels.

Temperatures during April’s event could drop around 10 degrees for up to an hour in the path of totality, said Andrew White, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis. Temperature drops will be less pronounced in partial eclipse areas.

The eclipse will also influence humidity levels, which limit how far temperatures can drop during totality.

How humid it feels is tied closely to temperature. Humidity rises when the air temperature and the dew point, which measures how much moisture is in the air, approach the same temperature. So when air temperatures briefly dip during an eclipse, they trend closer to the dew point and make the air feel a bit more humid.

But air temperatures cannot fall below the dew point, so if dew points start out high during the eclipse they’ll limit how low temperatures can go.

Less solar radiation and reduced temperatures during an eclipse can also affect wind and cloud cover.

The cooldown during an eclipse briefly reduces the amount of heat stored in the atmosphere. Heat forces air to rise and makes the atmosphere unstable. The atmosphere then creates clouds, storms and wind to let out heat energy in an attempt to bring itself back into balance.

So as the eclipse cools the air, the atmosphere calms down and wind speeds drop because the atmosphere isn’t working as hard to balance itself out. Scientists took a number of weather measurements in Wyoming and New York during 2017’s total solar eclipse and found wind speeds dropped by an average of 6 mph as a result of the eclipse.

A significant temperature drop can also alter cloud cover.

Clouds over parts of South Carolina disappeared during 2017’s total solar eclipse because they lost their fuel – heat that forces air to rise and form clouds. It’s possible something similar happens during Monday’s eclipse.

Monday’s eclipse is the only chance to see a total solar eclipse from the Lower 48 for the next two decades. The next total solar eclipse to cross the country won’t arrive until August 12, 2045, but one will briefly clip portions of Montana and the Dakotas on August 23, 2044.

KSL 5 TV Live


Security forces stand around a stage that collapsed due to a gust of wind during an event attended ...

Michael Rios, Mia Alberti and Fidel Gutierrez and Ivana Kottasová

9 dead, 54 injured as wind causes stage collapse at Mexico election rally

Nine people were killed and a presidential candidate was briefly taken to hospital after a stage collapsed under heavy winds at a campaign rally in Mexico on Wednesday.

9 hours ago

Workers search through the remains of tornado-damaged property, Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Greenfiel...

Hannah Fingerhut, Scott McFetridge, and Margery A. Back, Associated Press

Tornado devastates Iowa town, killing multiple people as powerful storms rip through Midwest

Multiple people were killed and at least a dozen were injured Tuesday as a tornado devastates a small Iowa town.

2 days ago

A tornado spins west of Hawley, Texas, as cars pass on U.S. 277 on Thursday May 2, 2024, part of on...

Associated Press

Severe storms blitz the US South again after one of the most active tornado periods on record

More than 15 million people from Texas to Florida were under threat of severe storms and the potential for more tornadoes Monday, many of them in areas previously hit during one of the most active periods for tornados in history.

10 days ago

Residents row a boat in a flooded street after heavy rains, in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul stat...

Maurico Savarese and Eleonore Hughes, The Associated Press

Flooding forecast to worsen in Brazil’s south, where many who remain are poor

More rain started coming down on Saturday in Brazil’s already flooded Rio Grande do Sul state, where many of those remaining are poor people with limited ability to move to less dangerous areas.

11 days ago

Marshall Falcon, left, photographs the northern lights as he and Angie Avitia watch the celestial d...

Ray Sanchez and Ashley R. Williams, CNN

There’s another chance to view the northern lights show Sunday night – but not for everyone

In case you missed the stunning nighttime spectacle of multicolored auroras dancing in the skies across the Northern Hemisphere, there is still a chance Sunday evening to catch a glimpse – but not for everyone.

11 days ago

The northern lights over Park City, Utah on May 11, 2024....

Ray Sanchez, CNN

Missed the dazzling northern lights show? You might get another chance Saturday night

A second chance to view the magnificent auroras from a series of solar flares and coronal mass ejections from the sun will arrive Saturday evening in case you missed the show the previous night.

12 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

While you watch the eclipse, you’ll also be able to feel it