The Eclipse..The Weather...and the Tropics
By now it is no secret that we will have a major astronomical event beginning around 12:00 PM on Monday August 21st. The 2017 Eclipse has been widely publicized and there is a plethora of information on the subject. Here in southeast Louisiana we will be treated to a 75% to 80% lunar coverage of the moon over the sun, with the peak coverage occurring around 1:26 PM. The sky will not likely turn completely dark because we will still encounter at least 25% of sunlight reaching the earth at our location. If you intend to view the solar eclipse then you will need to make certain that your solar viewing glasses are ISO 1232-2 certified. This certification should be printed somewhere on the inside frames of the glasses and ensures that your eyes will be completely protected while viewing the eclipse. It is not acceptable to view the eclipse wearing multiple pair of sunglasses or with any lenses that do not meet the certification safety standards. Please use good common sense when viewing the eclipse and never look directly at the sun without certified solar viewing glasses because irreparable damage could occur to your eyes. Also, never look at the sun through cell phones, digital cameras or telescopes without certified solar filters.
There will be many opportunities around the area to join in with many other spectators to view the solar eclipse including the BREC Highland Road Observatory's hosting of a special viewing event Monday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., with live feeds showing views of the eclipse in different places across the country. The observatory will provide telescopic and projection views of the sun from Baton Rouge and will have solar viewers or “eclipse glasses” available for purchase for $2 (limit 2 per adult). No admission fee; recommended for ages 8 and older. Visit bro.lsu.edu for more information. The Louisiana Art and Science Museum (LASM) staff will also be set up on the Mississippi River levee behind the museum’s planetarium theater for a similar viewing event. The museum itself will be closed, but all are welcome to visit the levee from noon-2 p.m. LASM will have a solar viewing telescope and several indirect-viewing creations available for attendees to use and safely observe the eclipse. The museum has already sold out of its solar viewing glasses, so plan to bring your own (see below for ideas!). Visit lasm.org for more information.
Monday's forecast calls for a 40% chance of afternoon showers and thunderstorms. It appears that much of this activity will begin in the middle to late afternoon hours and towards the end of the solar eclipse. Cloud cover could be an issue when the eclipse begins around the lunchtime hour, so be aware that you may need to change your location a few miles to get a better view of the sun. As it stands now the visibility forecast is in the "fair" category meaning that there will be a mix of clouds and sun, but overall skies should be partly sunny throughout the peak event with sporadic times of a full unobstructed view of the sun. Showers and thunderstorm activity will begin to significantly increase as the afternoon progresses and we very well could encounter limited visibility by the end of the event. High temperatures will easily reach the 90 degree mark by noon, which is the beginning of the event, and the heat index will hover around 100 degrees throughout the afternoon. You should be prepared to drink plenty of liquids(water and/or Gatorade) to remain hydrated if you intend to spend excessive time in the afternoon heat while viewing the eclipse.
The system that was Tropical Storm Harvey is nothing more that a tropical wave as of late Sunday night. Harvey is a very disorganized system and is lacking a well-defined center of circulation, which is necessary for the system to be categorized as a tropical storm. Also, the associated shower and thunderstorm activity remains disorganized and had significantly decreased in coverage and intensity since Sunday afternoon. Harvey will be moving into a more conducive area for development on Monday and we could see a more organized system and gradual development through Monday night. The system is currently located over the central Caribbean and is moving west-northwest at 15-20 mph towards the coast of Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula. The system could also move into the Bay of Campeche on Wednesday where re-development appears more likely due a more favorable environment. There is a 50% (Medium) chance of formation through 48 hours and an 80% (High) chance through 5 days.