Richmond’s rendezvous with a partial solar eclipse is less than a week away, and we can be cautiously optimistic about having fair weather on Monday afternoon.
If there are any clouds, it shouldn’t be the result of a tropical system.
Tropical Storm Gert — the only active system in the Atlantic — was centered 370 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras on Monday evening, but it is no threat to land. Gert showed signs of better organization on Monday and is likely to be a Category 1 hurricane by Tuesday morning with sustained wind speeds above 74 mph.
It is moving to the north as it rounds the western edge of an area of high pressure. On Tuesday afternoon, it will make its closest approach to North Carolina’s coast, but the center will be a safe 250 to 275 miles offshore.
The storm could further intensify by late Tuesday or Wednesday, possibly reaching Category 2 or 3 strength.
By Wednesday, Gert will accelerate to the northeast ahead of an upper-level trough and lose tropical characteristics somewhere southeast of Newfoundland on Thursday.
It will not hit land, but it will whip up heavy surf and make rip currents a serious threat in North Carolina and the Mid-Atlantic through midweek.
Another cluster of thunderstorms that emerged from the western coast off Africa may strengthen into another tropical storm over the next several days as it moves westward with the trade winds, but it is far too early to know where it will ultimately go.
The next name on the list is Harvey.
Monday’s eclipse could come with a few clouds
There are now useful indications about how the weather patterns will look when we experience a partial solar eclipse on Monday, but there are still some details to sort out.
The moon will cover 86 percent of the sun over Richmond at 2:44 p.m. Monday, and eclipse watchers would be disappointed if the sky is overcast.
Some patchy mid- and high-level clouds can’t be ruled out yet, but a thick, low overcast is a small probability if the forecast stays on track.
The large details, however, are favorable for at least partial cloudiness, if not mostly clear skies.
High pressure ought to be building down into the state by Sunday or Monday, which would bring fair weather and push a weak front with clouds and storms farther south into North Carolina.
Temperatures won’t exactly turn cool and comfortable behind the front. It’s likely we’ll have mid- to upper 80s during Monday afternoon, which is normal for mid-August.
Forecasting clouds several days in the future is, in a word, nebulous, so we’ll revisit Monday’s forecast in detail later this week and over the weekend.
- The moon will not cover enough of the sun to make things totally dark in Richmond. That will happen only in the path of totality, which will be in a line between Oregon and South Carolina.
- It will
- be safe to look directly at the sun here, unless you’re using certified protective glasses, or an indirect viewing method like projecting light through a pinhole and onto a surface.
- Refer to our stories on Richmond.com for more details about the eclipse, viewing events and where to find safety glasses.