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Solar eclipse 2017: What will New York’s weather be like?

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Historical data offers some clues as to what we can expect on the day of the eclipse

A partial solar eclipse, similar to what New York City may see on August 21, over Poland.

When the solar eclipse hits the U.S. in just a few days on August 21, New York City, alas, won’t experience the full thing—we’re expected to get a partial eclipse, with about 70 percent totality, for a period of about three hours that afternoon.

And if the weather doesn’t cooperate—if it’s exceptionally cloudy or rainy that day, or conditions are otherwise less than ideal, we’ll see even less of the eclipse than is currently projected.

Luckily, as of a few days before the event, it looks like the weather will cooperate—the National Weather Service has now issued a seven-day forecast, including next Monday, and it’s predicting “sunny, with a high near 88.”

The Weather Channel’s forecast is similarly optimistic. According to its 10-day forecast, we can expect a clear, sunny day, with no chance of rain—so ideal conditions for an eclipse. But weather is unpredictable, so take all of this with a grain of salt.

Typical cloud cover on August 21

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), working with the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies (NCICS), got a little ahead of the weather game by compiling a cloudiness map of the United States for August 21 from 2001 to 2010—or “average historical cloudiness.”

Looking at roughly the hour of totality for that ten-year period, researchers looked at various factors, including percent chance the cloud cover will be broken, clear, few, overcast, or scattered.

Based on their projections, visibility in New York will vary depending on where you’re located. New York has several weather stations, including ones at both JFK and LaGuardia Airports, along with the one atop Belvedere Castle in Central Park. According to the NOAA’s projections, Central Park and its surrounding area will have the best chance of visibility, at about 66 percent. Both airports will have between 41 and 43 percent visibility.

Rain or shine eclipse events

So what happens if the weather forecasters are wrong and it does rain on Monday? Well, there’s always the NASA livestream of the eclipse—which the American Museum of Natural History will be broadcasting at the Hayden Planetarium that afternoon. You can also check out our guide to solar eclipse events.