MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - There are so many cool aspects about the upcoming solar eclipse on August 21st.
The moon is going to block a good portion of sunlight in the middle of the day. Ninety-four percent of the sun will be blocked here in Memphis and the surrounding communities in Shelby County. It will get darker outside, almost like it is near dusk. The farther north of Memphis you go, the percentage of sun blocked will rise. Union City, Tennessee will see around 98 percent of the sun blocked. The path of totality (100 percent blockage) of the solar eclipse will be just north of Union City near Paducah, Kentucky. The viewing difference from Dyersburg and Union City to Paducah will be huge, even with only two percent difference. It will mean the difference between looking like dusk or twilight and complete darkness. The temperature fall and rise will be much greater for those in the path of totality near Paducah as well. The whole experience will be ten times better for those in the path of totality than it will be for the rest of us.
If you can't make it that far north, the differences will be much smaller for the rest of us. Clarksdale will have the least coverage in the WMC Action News 5 viewing area with about 89 percent coverage. But the amount of light will not be very noticeable from Clarksdale to Covington or even up to Dyersburg. You might notice a little difference, but it wouldn't be worth driving from Clarksdale to Memphis for a couple more percent. The only reason to drive farther north is if you are going to go all the way to Paducah or some other city in the path of totality.
The window for the prime portion of the solar eclipse is only 2-3 minutes long between 1:20 p.m. and 1:23 p.m. The main impact on the weather from a solar eclipse is the temperature fall and rise during the main part of the event. The temperature will start falling an hour before peak, then rise again just after the peak for another hour. The temperature may change as much as 10-15 degrees. That will be fun to experience!
There is one thing that can alter everything during the event. That would be cloud cover. Unfortunately, the odds are not in our favor. We would still experience a temperature fall and rise but it would ruin viewing of the eclipse with those cool eclipse glasses. If there are scattered clouds or a mostly cloudy sky, it will get somewhat darker. But if it's completely overcast, it may be so dark, you can't see where you are going. That will be the interesting part of a cloudy day, but it will also be a big disappointment for many hard-core eclipse fans.
Clarksville: 2:19 of totality
Gallatin: 2:40 of totality
Nashville: 1:57 of totality
Lebanon: 2:37 of totality
Cookeville: 2:32 of totality
For more information about seeing the Great American Eclipse in Tennessee, click here.