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Eclipse forecast looks promising, but scattered storms threaten view

The Moon begins to move in front of the sun during a solar eclipse Feb. 26, 1998, as viewed from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The Moon begins to move in front of the sun during a solar eclipse Feb. 26, 1998, as viewed from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Karl Merton Ferron / The Baltimore Sun)

Clouds appear unlikely to block Marylanders' view of the total solar eclipse sweeping across the country Aug. 21, but meteorologists can't rule out scattered storms spoiling the once-in-a-generation event.

Weather forecasts for next Monday show sunny skies, with high pressure expected to dominate over the weekend and into the early part of next week. About 80 percent of the sun will be obscured as viewed from Maryland when the eclipse reaches its greatest extent here, about 2:43 p.m. A partial eclipse will be visible from 1:18 p.m. to 4:01 pm. here.

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But the state is forecast to be on the edge of a region in which scattered storms threaten to spoil the show. Stormy weather is forecast across the Southeast, including in South Carolina, the closest place where the totality of the eclipse will be visible.

Forecasters including the Weather Channel and Weather Underground predict about 20 percent chances of precipitation next Monday.

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AccuWeather.com notes that a tropical system could develop north of the Caribbean next weekend and impact the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states. But that is an early forecast and could easily change.

Viewing conditions are expected to be good for most of the country, but clouds could also block the view for those on the Oregon coast, where the total eclipse will first appear.

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